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Freshman Dillon Gabriel leads No. 18 UCF past Florida Atlantic

The quarterback gets his first start, throws touchdowns of 57 and 74 yards in the 48-14 victory.
UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) hands the ball off to running back Adrian Killins Jr. (9) during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Boca Raton. [JIM RASSOL | AP]
Published Sep. 8

BOCA RATON — UCF’s Dillon Gabriel made his completions count.

The freshman went 7 for 19 in his first start but threw touchdowns of 57 and 74 yards, and No. 18 UCF extended its regular-season win streak to 24 games by easing past Florida Atlantic 48-14 Saturday night.

Gabriel also connected on passes of 45 and 32 yards, which more than made up for his frequent misfires. The left-hander totaled 245 yards passing — 35 per completion — and ran four times for 19 yards and a score.

The Knights (2-0) totaled 574 yards and reached the 30-point mark for the 28th game in a row, the longest such streak since at least 1936.

Florida Atlantic (0-2) disappointed a home crowd of 30,811, largest in the program’s history. The Owls have never beaten a top 25 team in 15 tries.

The game was called because of lightning in the area with 4:20 to play.

Running back Adrian Killins Jr. scored one touchdown rushing and another receiving. Otis Anderson had the Knights’ longest run when he juked past a safety for a 39-yard score.

UCF needed less than six minutes to take a 14-0 lead, and by halftime the margin was 28-6, even though Gabriel had completed just three passes.

He sealed the outcome midway through the third quarter with a completion to Killins, who was open by 10 yards at midfield and weaved past four defenders to the end zone for a 74-yard score.

UCF sacked Chris Robison four times and stopped the Owls on third down 14 times. The Knights led 48-6 before allowing a touchdown for the first time this season.

QB switch

Gabriel started after coming off the bench to throw three touchdown passes last week against Florida A&M. Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush, who started the opener, did not play.

Quick start

The Knights gained 120 yards in the first 5½ minutes to take a 14-0 lead. They drove 75 yards in seven plays for their first score, and after a blocked punt, Gabriel hit Jacob Harris deep for a 57-yard touchdown.

Up next

UCF: The Knights have an opportunity to answer criticism about a perennially soft schedule when they play at home next Saturday against No. 23 Stanford.

FAU: After facing ranked teams in the first two games, Florida Atlantic plays at Ball State (1-1) on Saturday.

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