McKenzie Milton leads UCF to 73-33 win over Austin Peay as Knights remain undefeated

Written by Austin Fackler

UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton completed his first 14 passes on the way to a 24 of 26 night, passing for 275 yards and 3 TD’s as he helped lead the Knights to a 73-33 victory over Austin Peay. The win for UCF kept their undefeated season alive, however it did not come easy.

After winning their first coin toss of the season the Knights drove down the field capping off a 12 play 66-yard drive that included a fourth down conversion with a four-yard touchdown run by running back Taj McGowan.

Then it was Austin Peay’s turn, and they came out strong. Even after a 28-yard touchdown run by Corey Brown got called back due to a holding penalty,  the Governors pressed on and scored on a 4th down and 1 from the UCF seven-yard line to tie the game at 7.

On the following kickoff, UCF defensive back Mike Hughes returned the kick 90 yards for a touchdown. Austin Peay was unable to answer as the Knights  defense forced a three and out. Then UCF got back to work, this time it was a six-play, 47-yard touchdown drive that was capped off by McGowan’s second touchdown of the game. This marked his second game of the season with two touchdowns.

Despite the deficit, the Governors were not giving up and got back on the board with a four-play, 75 yard scoring drive that was sparked by a 74-yard completion from quarterback Jeremiah Oatsvall to wide receiver Kyran Moore. The Knights would block the PAT to keep the score at 21-13 with UCF on top with 13:27 left in the second quarter.

UCF started their ensuing possesion at their own 50 after a fialed onside attempt by Austin Peay. The Knights then drove agains down the field before being forced to settle for a 20 yard field goal which increased the Knights lead to 24-13

The Knights rank 2nd in the AAC for total defense and that showed up as a factor early in the 2nd quarter with UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin coming up with a big fumble return for a touchdown that stretched the lead to 31-13. It was Griffin’s first ever touchdown in any level of football.

After the fumble, the Govenors continued to refuse to letup. Austin Peay put together a 10 play 75-yard drive that lasted just over 5 minuets and resulted in a 12-yard TD pass from Oatsvall to tight end Trey Pruitt that cut the Knights lead down to 11.

UCF followed that drive up with a touchdown drive of their own that would push the lead to 38-20. The kick return that followed however was taken to the house by Austin Peay’s Kyran Moore for 91 yards,  cutting UCF’S lead to just twelve with just under 2 minutes to play in the half. After forcing UCF into their first punt of the game, the Govenors were unable to capitalize as Oatsvall was intercepted by UCF  defensive end Titus Davis, and the Knights didn’t waste the opportunity. Shortly after, Milton found wide receiver Dredrick Snelson for a 27-yard touchdown reception with just 30 seconds before halftime.

The Knights led at 45-26  at the half and did not let off the gas when they came out for the third quarter.  In fact, it was more of the dominate play that we have all been used to from the Knights this season. UCF scored on their first offensive possession of the half and it was Milton finding wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith for a 15-yard touchdown. The rout was on from there as Knights extended their lead to 59-33 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The final scored ended with the UCF Knights winning big by a score of 73-33.

Milton was the story of this game for the Knights, as he dispersed his 275 yards passing to 9 different receivers throughout the game. After the game Milton was excited about the team win and was also staying humble saying, “It was a great team win with everyone scoring collectively.” He was asked after the game how he thought of his overall performance, he responded by saying, “I didn’t know until after the game how my stats looked but the coaches did an incredible job creating space for all the players so that he could get them the ball.”

UCF head coach Scott Frost was happy with the win but continues to emphasize the importance of playing a complete game.

“Our team was not fully prepared for this game and he will have a lot to clean up and work on for next week”.  Early in the game the score was close and there were some mistakes being made by the Knights, when asked if he was nervous at all during that time he said “I was never uncomfortable with the game I just was not happy with our performance, you can’t cheat the game of football you’re either playing your hardest and preparing the best or you’re not.”

The Knights won big on Saturday night but they will have to start preparing for their game next week, which is  Conference road game at SMU. The Mustangs are 6-2 on the season and have a very high-powered offense that averages 41.5 points per game,  which will be a challenge for the Knights defense who only allow 17.5 points per game.

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