The Knights took care of business against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats Saturday night. A big part of the domination that took place began with the running game, and once again led by running back Isaiah Bowser.
Bowser scored four touchdowns in the first half, becoming just the fourth player in Knights history to rush for four touchdowns in a game.
“He’s a real running back, there’s no doubt about it,” said UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn. “I’m glad we got him.”
Bowser’s performance pushed the Knights to a 35-7 lead at halftime, and four of the five Knights’ first half touchdowns were red zone scores. When they had the ball in close, they called Bowser’s number to punch it into the end zone.
It’s hard to imagine scoring a touchdown every third time you touch the ball, but Bowser did. His four touchdowns came on just 12 carries for 59 yards, a far cry from the 33 carries he had last week against Boise State.
The Knights’ big lead allowed them to rest Bowser, but there was little lay off from the rest of the running backs. There was a youth movement, as well as seeing some players in a Knights' uniform for the first time.
Junior running back Trillion Coles was given 11 opportunities on the ground and ran for 78 yards and a touchdown. On the night, Coles led the Knights in rushing yardage. He also caught a 15-yard touchdown from Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel.
The Knights ran the ball a total of 42 times and gained 290 rushing yards against the Wildcats. The UCF offensive coaching staff gave touches to five different running backs in total.
Mark Antony-Richards, the sophomore transfer from Auburn, saw his first action in a Knights uniform and ran four times for 24 yards. Freshman Anthony Williams carried five times for 19 yards, and Johnny Richardson toted the football three times for 14 yards. The running game did not conclude with the running backs.
Even newly transferred quarterback Joey Gatewood had three rushing attempts for 30 yards. Big-play wide receiver Ryan O'Keefe also received a carry, and he jaunted 18 yards up the field.
“We got a chance to play our twos and threes, and when they went out there, they didn’t slop around. They played good, clean football,” Malzahn said.
Gabriel had the longest run of the night, a 44 yard circus play that saw him zig-zagging all across the field and finally into the endzone.
Malzahn said he was yelling for Gabriel to slide down early into the run.
“I was yelling get down, but that was an unbelievable run. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of those,” Malzahn said. “Last time I saw one of those I was coaching Cam Newton.”
The Knights’ offense will be tested on the road for the first time next Friday night against the Louisville Cardinals, and Coles expects even bigger things next week and for the rest of the season.
“Our offense is amazing,” Coles said. “I believe we’re going to be unstoppable.”