Written by Austin Fackler
Orlando, FL – UCF dominated every aspect of their matchup against Power-5 opponent Pittsburgh; their defense was something to marvel at however only allowing one offensive touchdown. The Knights QB McKenzie Milton also had a record-breaking game helping UCF trounce the ACC opposition, 45-14 to move to 4-0 on the season.
As UCF received the opening kickoff, there was an excitement in the air for this 3:30 kick off.
The game started with each team moving the ball some but having to punt on each possession. On UCF’S second possession of the game with some help from Adrian Killins who had a 64-yard catch and run, Milton was able to finish the drive off with his 4th rushing touchdown of the year to give the Knights an early 7-0 lead with 6:50 to play in the first half.
Central Florida’s defense stood tall on the next possession forcing a three-and-out giving the ball back to their offense which made quick work of their opportunity going 79 yards in just 1:44 finished off by a record breaking touchdown pass by Milton who moved to number 4 on the UCF all-time list of points responsible for, passing Blake Bortles. It was also Milton’s 18th consecutive game with a touchdown pass.
Pitt could not get anything going offensively, but after giving the ball back to UCF, their defense was able to force a punt from the high potent offense. The Panthers looked like they were going o use the punt to make this a close ball game when Rafael Araujo-Lopes sprinted 86 yards for a touchdown on the return to make the score 14-7 late in the first quarter.
UCF took no time responding however, as the Knights marched right down the field 75 yards in 1:23 that was finished off by another Milton rushing touchdown from 23 yards out to extend the Knights lead to 21-7 with 14:50 left in the first half.
After an interception by UCF’S Richie Grant deep in their territory the Knights again drove the field. This time 67 yards, highlighted by a 27-yard completion to Gabriel Davis to set the Knights up in the red-zone and three plays later the Knights finished the drive with a 3-yard TD pass from Milton to Michael Colubiale to extend their lead to 28-7.
After the UCF defense again forced a three-and-out the offense went to work at midfield getting down to the goal line but was not able to punch it into the end-zone, settling for a field goal making the score 31-7 heading into the half.
Milton was the star of the first half for with 197 passing yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 51 yards and two more scores.
The Panthers were led by QB Kenny Pickett who finished the half with 78 passing yards.
Coming out of the half the Knights started on defense forcing a very quick three-and-out and getting the ball back to Heisman hopeful Mckenzie Milton and the prolific UCF offense. They took no time picking up right where they left off scoring on just 2 plays which were highlighted by a 71-yard TD pass to Killins for his second TD of the game.
UCF added on another TD in the final minutes of the 4th quarter on Mckenzie Miltons 4th passing TD of the game and his 6th TD responsible for. It was the 3rd time of his career that he has been responsible for 6 TD’S.
The second half was one to forget for the Panthers who scored their first and only offensive touchdown with 5 minutes to play in the game. After that touchdown, the Knights would run out the clock and improve to 4-0.
After the game the Knights head coach Josh Heupel said, “I thought our defensive line dominated the football game, we were pretty good on 3rd down and created another turnover.”
“Offensively we did a good job adjusting the run game we made it tough with a lot of one-on-one situations,” Heupel added.
“I thought we handled the physicality in the run game really well and we did a really good job on the play action boot stuff as well.”
Milton was pleased with the win, and praised his teammates saying, “The guys we have in our arsenal make me look a lot better.” He was also asked if he was satisfied with the win responding with, “I’m not satisfied I think we left some points out there”
The Knights are home again next Saturday, October 6, at 7:00pm against SMU.