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No. 11 UCF Still Smarting Over Disappointing Loss To Tulsa

Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) passes against East Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Central Florida quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) passes against East Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

With a 374 record since the start of the 2017 season, there arent a lot of opponents on No. 11 UCFs payback list.

ORLANDO, Fla.: With a 37-4 record since the start of the 2017 season, there arent a lot of opponents on No. 11 UCFs payback list.

Tulsa, which upset the Knights a year ago, is one of them.

Personally, Ive been waiting, sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel conceded without expanding on his feelings about the Knights (2-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) having an opportunity Saturday night to even the score for a disappointing 34-31 loss to the Golden Hurricane.

Tulsa (0-1, 0-0) has won three straight in a series that began when both schools were members of Conference USA.

UCF has won two of the past three AAC championships. Losing on the road last year to an underdog that won just two league games and finished 4-8 overall was difficult to swallow.

I learned from it, Gabriel said. This is this year. … Well see what happens.

Tulsa, which had scheduled games against Toledo, Northwestern State and Arkansas State cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, is playing for the first time since opening the season with a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma State.

Linebacker Zaven Collins had three of Tulsas six sacks in the opener. The Hurricanes used a relentless pass rush to disrupt UCFs prolific offense a year ago, and itll take a similar effort to slow down the high-scoring Knights again.

The last three or four years I think theyve only lost three or four ball games, Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. I know we were fortunate to be one of those last year … but itll be another great test for us.

TERRIFIC START

Gabriel is off to a blazing start. Hes thrown for eight touchdowns through two games while also becoming the first UCF player to throw for 400-plus yards in consecutive games. Hes also the first Knights quarterback with back-to-back four-touchdown pass games since McKenzie Milton in 2017.

KEEP IT BALANCED

As well as Gabriel has played, hes hardly been a one-man show in victories over Georgia Tech and East Carolina. The Knights have an abundance of offensive playmakers around the sophomore QB and have one of the most balanced attacks in college football.

If you become one dimensional, whether its in the passing game or the run game, inevitably teams are going to catch up to you and stop what youre doing, UCF coach Josh Heupel said. I think our ability to maintain balance, being able to run the football, is critical to who and what we are.

LIMITED FANS

About 11,000 fans, roughly 25 percent capacity of UCFs 44,000-seat on campus stadium, will allowed for the home opener, including 3,000 students.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25


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