After Miami’s loss Friday, the Knights are one of just three teams in FBS with an undefeated record. The other’s being Bama and Wisconsin. Now the Knights will prepare for a matchup with the Memphis Tigers next week in the American Conference Championship.
Now the questions are starting to swirl. Is Scott Frost leaving UCF? Some say it’s a done deal. But shouldn’t the focus be on the success of this TEAM?
Resilience and dedication are a few words that come to mind when I think about the 2017 UCF Football Team.
Facing certain elimination from any New Years Six bowl discussion with under three minutes left, quarterback McKenzie Milton and the Knights showed up when it mattered. Milton hit running back Otis Anderson out in the flat to the left side, and Anderson did the rest with his legs, going 23 yards for the score.
Anderson was quick to share the spotlight post game.
“Great O-Line blocking. They got me to the second level, I made a person miss, but after that, my touchdown really goes to Tre-Quan [Smith], without him I think I would have had a very hard time getting into the end zone.”
Then the Bulls answered with an 83-yard touchdown connection with from quarterback Quinton Flowers to wide receiver Darnel Salomon. As the Bulls converted the two-point conversion with Flowers finding running back D’Ernest Johnson wide open in the back left of end zone, things were all tied up at 42.
Then came the ensuing kickoff. UCF return man Mike Hughes took the kick in stride, made some moves and took it 95 yards to the house. After this score, there was just 1:28 left on the clock.
USF had one last chance to score and extend the game. On their third play of the drive, on 3rd and nine from their own 45-yard line, Flowers connected with tight end Mitchell Wilcox for first down yardage. However, as Wilcox looked to go up field, Knights safety Richie Grant made contact with the ball and forced a fumble. UCF linebacker Chequan Burkett would recover the fumble and pandemonium ensued as the Knights faithful celebrated in elation.
Head coach Scott Frost was visibly exhausted from the roller coaster of a game it was and credited USF for making it a nail-biter in the end.
“I’m going to have to go back and watch that tape to remember exactly what happened. There were highs and there were lows. In the first quarter when we got the ball back 21-7 about midfield and with the way we were moving the ball; I thought we were going to put it away early. They made those adjustments on defense. We kept getting stopped and not getting first downs by a yard and by a foot, and that was frustrating.”
One thing that he will see after going back and watching the film is that Flowers did all he could to will the Bulls to a victory. Flowers finished the game with a career-high in total offensive yardage with 605 yards of total offense. Flowers did most of the damage through the air with 503 yards on 24 of 45 passes.
“Quinton has a reputation for being a runner, not a thrower. He threw for 500 yards tonight, so my hats off to the kid,” said Frost postgame.
While Frost recognized Flowers’ success, the number of celebrities noticing UCF’s performance were countless. From Danny Kanel tweeting, “UCF can play with anyone in the country.” to Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeting “Wish every game was this USF/UCF game.”
It’s an exciting time for UCF football right now and they are embracing every moment. Now the mantra must continue to be to focus and execute a matchup with #20 Memphis in the American Conference Championship on the horizon.
It will be the first time since 2010 that UCF will host a Conference Championship game. Back then, a spot in the New Years Six was just a dream, then in 2013 they got a taste in Glendale with a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. Now the Knights are hungry for more. The question is though, who can stop them? It seems only UCF can stop UCF from achieving their dreams and goals.