Written by Austin Fackler
Orlando, FL – A great in-state rivalry was renewed on Friday night as Florida Atlantic University traveled to The University of Central Florida to take on the No. 16 Knights led by Heisman candidate McKenzie Milton who shined in UCF’s 56-36 victory.
The game started well for the Knights as Pat Jasinisky picked off FAU quarterback Chris Robinson and returned it 18 yards to set UCF up early in the first half. Four plays later Mckenzie Milton capitalized on the turnover with a 12-yard TD run to put the Knights up 7-0 with 12:13 remaining in the first quarter. After the Knights forced a three-and-out, a very good punt set UCF up at their own 8-yard line they wasted no time driving the field 92 yards in less than three minutes. Milton finished the drive by completing a 12-yard TD pass to Dredrick Snelson to improve the Knights lead to 14-0 with 8:07 remaining in the first half.
After a fake punt set the Owls up in the Knights territory running back Devin Singletary finished the drive off with an 11-yard touchdown run making that 17 straight games with a TD run for the junior. FAU’S defense started the second quarter holding the Knights to a three-and-out which the Owls then followed up with an 8 play 59-yard drive that was capped off with another Devin Singletary rushing touchdown with 10:24 remaining in the first half. After the Knights turned it over on downs in the Owls territory, FAU took 6 minutes off the clock to finish the drive with a 32-yard field goal to take the lead 17-14 with 1:34 to play in the first half.
The Knights took full advantage of the time the Owls left them. UCF took the ball 78 yards in 5 plays that was capped off with a 21-yard TD pass from Milton to Marlon Williams to give the Knights a 21-17 lead into halftime.
The Knights were led by Milton who finished the half 11-17 for 194 yards with 2 touchdowns, he also had one rushing touchdown. On the other side of the field the Owls were sparked by running back Devin Sigletary who had 15 rushing attempts for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Coming out of the half UCF drove the field 68 yards in 10 plays that was finished off by Miltons second rushing touchdown of the game to give the Knights a 28-17 lead with 11:19 to play in the 3rd quarter. After FAU’S first drive of the half was halted the Knights again drove the field 50 yards in 10 plays that ended the same way the previous drive had, with a third rushing touchdown by QB Milton to give the Knights a 35-17 lead with 7:10 to play in the third half. Immediately after the Owls went on a drive of their own going 63 yards in 6 plays that was finished with a 23-yard TD pass from Chris Robinson to Kerrith Whyte Jr. that cut the UCF lead to 35-23 after the 2-point conversion was incomplete.
The third quarter was definitely one for scoring as the Knights wasted no time scoring after the Owls answered taking the ball 75 yards in five plays which ended with another Milton passing touchdown to this time Gabriel Davis to make the score 42-23 with 3:53 to play in the third. It was McKenzie Miltons 56th passing touchdown which tied Blake Bortles for 4th most in UCF history.
FAU got the ball with 13:36 to play in the game and went on an 80-yard drive that took 4:38 that was capped off by another rushing touchdown by Devin Singletary and after they failed on another 2-point conversion the score was 42-36 UCF.
Two more UCF touchdowns put the icing on the cake even with FAU getting a touchdown in the final minutes of the game, UCF came away with a big 56-36 victory.
It was all McKenzie Milton this game as he threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 81 yards and three touchdowns helping his Heisman candidacy.
For FAU it was a rough night, but a bright spot for their offense was running back Devin Singletary who had 25 rushes for 131 yards and three touchdowns.
Following the game UCF head coach Josh Heupel said, “We played extremely hard with more intensity which was one of our main goals so I’m really proud of them for that”
With his team giving up 36 points Heupel said “defensively we did a great job getting stops and creating turnovers that was a big part of the game and offensively we took care of the ball.”
McKenzie Milton commented on the win and his great rushing game saying “Playing a good team you’re going to have to use the QB run game when you can and when the opportunity presented itself we took advantage, hats off to the wide receivers blocking on the outside”
The Knights next game will come against Pittsburgh next Saturday, September 29th. Kickoff is at 3:30pm.
(Photo Credit: Chris Tello / The SkyBoat)