UCF JUMPS OUT TO 21-0 LEAD AND ROLLS TO 48-25 WIN OVER MARSHALL IN 2019 BAD BOY MOWERS GASPARILLA BOWL
Dec. 23, 2019
TAMPA, FLA. — Most Valuable Player freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel passed for two touchdowns and ran for one more to lead UCF to a 48-25 victory over Marshall in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl Monday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium.
The UCF and Marshall defenses provided almost all the scoring in the first half which ended with the Knights taking a 24-7 lead into the locker room. In the second half, though, the offenses regained control of the game.
UCF (10-3, 6-2) grabbed control early and put three touchdowns on the board in the opening quarter to jump out to a 21-0 lead. Two of those three scores came on takeaways. Junior safety Richie Grant picked off a pass in the opening minute and ran it back 39 yards to open the scoring. Following a 26-yard scoring run by junior running back Greg McCrae, UCF defensive lineman Tre’mon Morris-Brash scooped up an errant lateral pass off the stadium turf and scampered 55 yards for the Knights’ third TD of the game.
Not to be outdone, Marshall’s defense put points on the board in the second quarter. Thundering Herd strong safety Micah Abraham picked off Darriel Mack’s pass and raced 75 yards to cut the margin to 14 points. UCF added a field goal as the half expired to push the Knights’ lead to 24-7.
The third quarter kept the local bowl game’s record-keepers busy. The period saw three touchdown passes of 35 yards or more, including 70- and 75-yard tosses on back-to-back plays from scrimmage. The teams also exchanged a pair of 3-yard scoring runs and Marshall added a 50-yard field goal as 39 points were registered on the scoreboard in the 15-minute frame.
UCF started the wild third quarter with a 35-yard scoring play from Gabriel to junior receiver Otis Anderson. Both quarterbacks added the 3-yard TD runs before uncorking the long scoring bombs on consecutive plays.
Marshall (8-5, 6-2) struck first when Isaiah Green connected with Willie Johnson from 70 yards out to cut the Thundering Herd’s deficit to 16 points following a successful two-point conversion.
UCF wasted no time in answering as Gabriel hooked up with Marlon Williams on the very next play from scrimmage on a 75-yard play to push the lead back to a more comfortable 23 points at 45-22.
The Knights finished the scoring by adding a 30-yard field goal by Dylan Barnas with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.
Gabriel finished his outstanding freshman season by completing 14-of-24 passes for 260 yards and the two touchdowns. He also added the 3-yard touchdown run in the frenetic third period.
Numerous records were set for the Gasparilla Bowl, now in its 12th year in the Tampa Bay area and its second at Raymond James Stadium. UCF’s 587 total yards marked a team-best figure, as did the Knights’ 310 rushing yards. The 73 total points eclipsed the mark of 69 set back in the bowl game’s second contest in 2009 (Rutgers 45, UCF 24).
The back-to-back touchdown passes of 70 and 75 yards were the second- and third-longest in the game’s dozen years, trailing only an 80-yard pass play by Ohio University against East Carolina in 2013. Add in the three long defensive scoring plays and there were six touchdowns that covered 35 or more yards, with three of them better than 70 yards.
Both UCF and Marshall were making their fourth appearance in the game, the most of any Gasparilla Bowl participants. UCF evened its mark at 2-2 in its four trips to the Tampa Bay area, while Marshall suffered its first loss following wins in 2011, 2015 and last year.
7-0 UCF — Richie Grant 39-yard INT return (Dylan Barnas kick) — 14:04
14-0 UCF — Greg McCrae 26-yard rush (Dylan Barnas kick) — 9:12 (6 plays, 65 yards, 1:23)
21-0 UCF — Tre’Mon Morris-Brash 55-yard fumble return (Dylan Barnas kick) — 7:00
21-7 MAR — Micah Abraham 75-yard INT return (Justin Rohrwasser kick) — 12:28
24-7 UCF — Dylan Barnas 36-yard FG — 0:00 (10 plays, 75 yards, 3:12)
31-7 UCF — Otis Anderson 35-yard pass from Dillon Gabriel (Dylan Barnas kick) — 12:50 (9 plays, 75 yards, 2:10)
31-14 MAR — Isaiah Green 3-yard rush (Justin Rohrwasser kick) — 9:33 (7 plays, 75 yards, 3:17)
38-14 UCF — Dillon Gabriel 3-yard rush (Dylan Barnas kick) — 7:10 (8 plays, 75 yards, 2:23)
38-22 MAR — Willie Johnson 70-yard pass from Isaiah Green (Obi Obialo pass from Green) — 6:51 (1 play, 70 yards, 0:19)
45-22 UCF — Marlon Williams 75-yard pass from Dillon Gabriel (Dylan Barnas kick) — 6:39 (1 play, 75 yards, 0:12)
45-25 MAR — Justin Rohrwasser 50-yard FG — 1:08 (10 plays, 27 yards, 5:31)
48-25 UCF — Dylan Barnas 30-yard FG — 9:01 (10 plays, 20 yards, 4:59)
2019 BAD BOY MOWERS GASPARILLA BOWL GAME NOTES
FINAL SCORE: UCF 48, Marshall 25
- Game MVP: UCF Freshman Quarterback Dillon Gabriel, 14 of 24, 260 yards, 2 TD passes, 1 TD rushing, no interceptions
Game Notes and Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl Records
- The game included four touchdown plays of more than 55 yards and six of 35-yards or more. No previous Gasparilla Bowl game featured more than two touchdowns of greater than 35 yards.
- Tre’Mon Morris-Brash’s 55-yard fumble return was the first fumble return for a touchdown in Bowl history
- Three defensive touchdowns is the most in Bowl history
- Six turnovers (3 fumbles lost, 3 INTs) is the most in Bowl history
- UCF extended its streak of consecutive games with at least one rushing and one passing touchdown to 39 games, which is the longest in the nation. Clemson is second at 23 straight games.
- The two-point conversion by Marshall in the third quarter was only the second successful two-point conversion in Bowl history.
Bowl Game Records:
- Most points scored, first quarter: 21, UCF (ties Marshall in 2018)
- Most points in any quarter: 21, UCF (twice) (ties Louisville in 2011 and Marshall in 2018)
- Most points scored, third quarter, 21, UCF
- Most defensive touchdowns, 3 (2 UCF, 1 Marshall)
- Longest Interception Return, 75 yards, Micah Abraham, Marshall
- Most Points Scored, 2nd Half (Combined), 42 (UCF 24, Marshall 18)
- Most Combined Points Scored, 73 (Combined) (UCF 48, Marshall 25)
- Most Points Scored by One Team, 48, UCF
- Most Total Yards of Offense, 587, UCF (277 rushing, 310 passing)
- Most total fumbles, 6 (3 lost)
- Most fumbles one team, 4 (3 lost), Marshall
- Most total turnovers by one team, 5, Marshall (3 fumbles, 2 INT)
- Most Rushing Yards, 310, UCF
- Yards Per Play, 7.5 yards (587/78), UCF
- The 75-yard interception return by Micah Abraham is the longest return and longest return for a touchdown in Bad Boy Motors Gasparilla Bowl history.
- The 70-yard touchdown pass from Isaiah Green to Willie Johnson is the third longest scoring pass play in Bowl history.
- The 50-yard field goal by Justin Rohrwasser is the second longest in Bowl history.
- Brenden Knox rushed for 103 yards, becoming the fourth player in Bowl history to gain 100 or more yards rushing.
- This marks the first bowl loss as a head coach for Doc Holliday after winning his first six.
- Two defensive touchdowns is the most by one team in Bowl history.
- The 75-yard touchdown pass from Dillon Gabriel to Marlon Williams (7 catches, 132 yards, 1 TD) is the second longest scoring pass play in Bowl history.
- 45-yard run by Ben Thompson is the fourth longest run in Bowl history.
- The bowl victory is the first in the head coaching career of Josh Heupel.
- Five UCF players rushed for 40 or more yards, led by Greg McCrae with 80 yards.
Head Coach Josh Heupel
“It was important to finish the season the right way. We talked a lot about the seniors leaving a legacy.”
“Turnovers by the defense were critical early. It created space between us and them on the scoreboard.”
On defense creating turnovers…
“”Huge change in the way the game is played [because we scored early]. Early in the football game there was horrendous weather. I thought in all three phases our kids handled it pretty well. The turnovers and the defense were critical, which put a bunch of space between us and them on the scoreboard. I thought in the first half they [our defense] were absolutely suffocating.””
On three straight ten win seasons…
“”It means we got three ten win seasons. But I think you look at this season’s record, there’s goals that we didn’t accomplish. I hope we never get to the point as a program and a fanbase that our success isn’t really appreciated.”
On the intensity of the team…
“”We weren’t perfect offensively early in the football game. We were just trying to get our feet on the ground and give our defense a lead in part because of the weather. There were some penalties that ended some drives and put us in some adverse situations. I thought we started defensively about as fast we can and special teams was solid all day long.””
Dillon Gabriel, Freshman, QB
On freshman success…
“”I think there’s so many things to learn over the course of the season. Just from getting here in January, learning so much and going through my freshman season. I think overall there’s so many things to work on individually and as a team.””
On what he learned from the senior class and leadership and their approach to football and work …
“I think you really look back they came in when they were 0-12 probably just not a great foundation. They came in and created this culture, continue to do that and just learn from them . How to continue that culture, how to lead and how to be a good teammate, just go out there and win games somehow.”
On what he would have thought if he was told he was going to be the MVP in this bowl game…
“I don’t know… I think at that point in time, I was just focused on being the best teammate I could and obviously going through the competition. I’m just glad I was able to contribute to this team and be the best teammate I could and do what I could from the quarterback position.”
Nate Evans, Senior, Linebacker
On ending his UCF career on a high note…
“”There’s no better way that I would’ve preferred to go out.””
On Antwan Collier…
“A.C is gonna be a good football player, none of us are perfect. We’re always gonna continue to get better after we play a game. He’s a real upbeat guy . He has a lot of games left, I just picture that kid doing that for UCF Knights for a long time.”
On what Evans has contributed to the culture…
“I just try to go in everyday, with a smile on my face and just showing that I genuinely love them. Not just because we’re football players..or something like that . I look at these guys like we have the same mom.” You guys just asked about leadership. I would say genuinely love your teammates, go and bust your tail, show them that you’ll do whatever for them and they’ll do the same for you. And just from the game, you know, football is not life. There is life after football, put football to the side and just take those guys under your wing, love them, and they’re gonna trust you, they’re gonna play for you, and you’ll do the same for them.”
MARSHALL UNIVERSITY QUOTES
“Number one, you got to go play a team of that caliber, you have to take care of the ball. That’s where it all started. Unfortunately, we did not do a good job with that. When you turn it over against anybody five times you are going to lose the game. With that being said, we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”
On turning the ball over..
“It’s not always on one person. We have to do a better job as a team not letting turnovers occur, whether it be a receiver catching the ball or the quarterback putting the ball where it belongs or whatever. We’ve been pretty good at getting that done, when we win we take care of the ball. When we don’t, it’s what happened here this afternoon. I thought they [our players] fought their tails off but unfortunately that’s a really good football team and if you give them five extra possessions you’re probably going to get beat.”
On Micah Abraham’s interception…
“He [Abraham] had to grow up early. This guy is a freshman, a true freshman from right here in the Bay Area. Young freshman here has been playing all year for us. He started all year for us. Early on he made a great play for us to give us a good spark and got us going. He’s had a great year for us.”
On what he told the team…
“I told all the seniors that I love them and I appreciate all they’ve done for our program. They all got a college degree which is great and I told them to be careful going home and we’re going to miss them going into January and let me know all we can do for them as a staff and to call us anytime. It was 17 really great kids and they put a lot of work and blood sweat and tears into this program. We won a bunch of games and I’m just proud of all of them and I’m going to miss them.”
On your approach in the future…
“You just come back and go to work on January 12th like you always do. We will come back on the 12th and just get back to work on that Monday and look to get better.”
Brenden Knox, Sophomore, Running Back
On being pressed in huddle and sensing urgency in each possession…
“For sure, when we start out and making momentum like that, you’ve kinda just gotta dig yourself out of a hole and forget it, put it in the past and keep going. That’s just what we try to do.”
On going into the off season …
“Very hungry, you know we competed in the championship so at the end of the day that all that’s gonna be on our minds so by the time we come back, it’s just a stepping stone from here on out. Just put this in the basket and fill it up with that, so grind till the championship.”
Micah Abraham, Freshman, Safety
On playing in Raymond James Stadium…
“It felt great, knowing that my Dad played in this stadium, my brother played in this stadium, it was a great moment for me. Before the game I was watching my dad’s highlights and he had played just like that, it was great.”
On the interception…
“He just did a single out, I thought I could undercut and get there and I did that …it was green from there.”
On the future…
“I’m just happy to keep coming back and practice day by day and keep grinding so we will see where it goes from there.”