NEW ORLEANS -- Darriel Mack Jr. threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, Dillon Gabriel threw a touchdown pass and Central Florida held off Tulane 34-31 on Saturday to keep its hopes for a third straight American Athletic Conference championship alive.
Tulane scored 24 second-half points and closed to the final tally after UCF recovered an onside kick.
The Knights (8-3, 5-2) entered having lost three games by a combined seven points but jumped to a 10-0 lead after Dylan Barnas's 35-yard field goal and Gabriel's 23-yard scoring pass to Marlon Williams (nine catches for 119 yards). Otis Anderson's 44-yard scoring run put the Knights up 17-7 at halftime.
Mack scored on a 1-yard run in the third quarter and his 2-yard pass to Anthony Roberson gave the Knights a 31-17 lead before Barnas kicked what proved to be the winning 26-yard field goal.
After stopping the Knights on downs, Tulane's Justin McMillan threw a 7-yard TD pass to Jalen McCleskey on fourth-and-goal with 26 seconds to play and UCF recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal it.
Gabriel was 24 of 46 for 317 passing yards for UCF.
McMillan was 13 of 27 for 181 yards passing and rushed for 102 yards on 23 carries for Tulane.
FCS college football Week 3 preview
North Dakota State looks to bounce back after a baffling blowout loss, Deion Sanders and Jackson State face the first test of the season, and newly anointed No. 1 James Madison has a chance to prove its ranking.
College football's most compelling spring storylines
Is this the year Georgia finally catches up to Alabama? How will McKenzie Milton fare at Florida State? Breaking down everything to know about this year's spring football.
McShay reveals his Mock Draft 3.0
Todd McShay reveals his thoughts on who will be the second quarterback off the board and the Eagles' pick at No. 6. He also discusses DeVonta Smith vs. Ja'Marr Chase.
NFL mock draft 2021: Todd McShay's predictions for all 32 first-round picks heading into NFL free agency
As we approach free agency, Todd McShay projects Round 1 of the 2021 NFL draft -- and our NFL Nation reporters explain how the picks fit each roster.
Miles reprimanded for misconduct in LSU inquiry
Heather Dinich details a 2013 internal investigation done by LSU that found former football coach Les Miles had "inappropriate behavior" with female student workers.
Report: LSU inquiry found Les Miles misconduct in 2013
According to a report, a 2013 LSU internal investigation accused then-football coach Les Miles had inappropriate behavior with female student workers.