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UCF Knights

UCF QB Gabriel will also play against FAMU

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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After it was reported that UCF’s assumed starting quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. would be recovering from a fractured ankle heading into the season, the Knights found themselves with an unexpected quarterback competition in Orlando. Last week, the Knights head coach Josh Heupel named Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush as QB1, as they head into their season opener against FAMU on Saturday.

However, the QB battle doesn’t seem to be completely over just yet, after Heupel revealed in an interview that true freshman Dillon Gabriel will also have a chance to lead the Knight’s offense this weekend.

On Monday, Heupel told the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi on his “Open Mike” radio show, “Dillon Gabriel is going to play in the first half, He’s earned that opportunity. I’m looking forward to seeing him go out and play.”

The decision to play both guys shows just how close the race has between between Wimbush and Gabriel. Due to his experience on the field, Wimbush was named the official starter and will most likely see the majority of the action in the first game.

Gabriel is a speedy dual threat QB from Hawaii and is right out the mold of Milton. In fact, Gabriel broke several of Milton’s high school state passing records, including most passing yards in a career.

As for Wimbush, he just completed his redshirt junior season and was a successful starter in 2017. Wimbush threw for over 1,800 yards and rushed for over another 600 leading Notre Dame to a 10-2 record. He also set the Irish record for rushing TDs by a quarterback with 14 for that year.

However, he went to the bench last season after the first three games being replaced by coach Brian Kelly in favor of Ian Book. Book led the Irish to six consecutive wins to get their record to 9- 0 before suffering a rib injury against Northwestern.

Wimbush replaced him in Notre Dame’s 42-13 romp over Florida State in South Bend on November 10th. He threw for three touchdowns and ran for 68 yards in that victory.

As for Mack, the timeline of his return is still uncertain, as he’s been seen at practice walking around without a boot, however, is still not in a place where he can begin practicing again.

It will be interesting to not only see how the projected American conference champions compete against another Florida team, but we’ll get a front row seat to an ongoing QB competition in a high pressure, game situation.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

UCF Knights

UCF showed why they are top team in latest power rankings

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Another week has come and gone in the 2019 football season. In the state of Florida, it was another rough week for two of the NFL teams with the Fins and Jags both loosing again. While the Bucs were able to land an impressive division road win, UCF continued to roll, the Hurricanes got a victory, and the Gators pulled a out a late one, but lost a key player.

At the same time, FSU had yet another late-game collapse and USF did what they were supposed to do with an easy opponent. With all of that said lets breakdown the top teams in the state this week:

UCF Knights- The Knights just keep on “charging on.” Every time a team enters the “Bounce House,” they proceed to get bounced right on out of Orlando.

Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel is off to a hot start taking home a couple of national accolades last week. The Knights have now scored 30 points for the 29th game in a row, the longest streak since 1936. UCF gets another power five opponent this week on the road against Pittsburgh. If the Knights are able to roll over them with a couple of ranked matchups producing losses this weekend, will they be able to crack the top 10?

Florida Gators- The Gators had to sweat it out, but in the end, we’re able to come away with a win in Lexington. It took a missed field goal and a 76-yard WR sweep to eventually put the game away.

The Big story though, is the injury to 3-year starter, Felipe Franks. Franks will be out for the remainder of the season with a broken ankle, and backups Kyle Trask and Emory Jones will be called upon to run the offense.

With a home game against a 1-2 Tennessee next, then a visit from Towson, the Gators have time to get the offense resituated before a four-game stretch against Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs came away with a big division win on Thursday night at Carolina. The Panthers had owned the Bucs with Cam Newton who had a 9-4 record vs. the team before this loss. The Bucs offense did just enough and let the defense do the rest.

The new-look Bucs defense under coordinator Todd Bowles has been one of the bigger surprises in the entire NFL so far. With a date with the Giants and rookie Daniel Jones, the Bucs could potentially feast on the young quarterback in his first career start.

Miami Hurricanes- The Canes finally got a win in 2019. After losing the first two games by a combined 7 points, they beat Bethune-Cookman 63-0.

QB Jarren Williams continues to improve game by game, and the rushing attack had another good performance. The Canes will play host to a former employer of Dan Enos next week, when Central Michigan comes to town. Following that,  the Canes get right back into conference play with home games against Virginia Teach, Virginia, and Georgia Tech.

And….

FAU Owls- The Owls final played a team not ranked, and it resulted in the first win of the season. FAU took down Ball State 41-31 on the road. QB Chris Robinson tossed four touchdowns and had 366 yards passing. Larry McCammon III had 99 yards rushing and had a touchdown of his own.

John Mitchell had a monster game of 8 catches for 124 and three touchdowns. The Owls will get Wagner next before getting into conference play.

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UCF Knights

UCF freshman QB Gabriel already bringing home honors

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

If there was any chance for a two-quarterback system to continue at UCF, that appears to be answered already.
With Brandon Wimbush and Darriel Mack, Jr., both trying to gain playing time, true freshman Dillon Gabriel put a stronghold on the spot.

For the first time, this season the Knights started the same QB as the week before, and it seems like it will be like this for the foreseeable future. Gabriel, who shredded the Stanford defense Saturday, has the accolades coming in and was named Co-Offensive Player of the Week for the AAC,

Gabriel was also was named Walter Camp Foundation Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Knights to a win over the Cardinal by completing 22/30 of his passes for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns.

He was able to hit for TD throws of 28 yards to Marlon Williams, 38 yards to Tre Nixon, 38 yards to Gabriel Davis and 1-yard to Jake Hescook.

UCF scored at least 30 points for their 29th consecutive game – the longest streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 1936. They also won their 27th consecutive regular season game on Saturday.

Gabriel continues to follow in fellow Hawaii phenom, Mckenzie Milton’s footsteps. From the same town and school as the UCF quarterback, he is on the path with the awards. Milton, who was the American Player of the Year in 2018, but suffered a horrible career threatening injury in November, is helping Gabriel adjust to college and leading the Knights.

By the way, Gabriel is the fourth UCF player to receive Walter Camp National Player of the Week honors, since 2004, and the first since quarterback Milton.

If Gabriel is going to be the starter going forward, and barring injury, it looks like he will, we can expect more performances like this leading Josh Heupel’s high-powered offense.

He will get another test next week on the road against another Power 5 opponent in Pittsburgh in a game that will also be televised to a lot of the country on ABC.

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