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UCF Hammers Memphis, Stakes Claim to AAC Dominance

40-13 will do that for you.

The UCF Knights stake their claim in the American Athletic Conference.
Matt DeSalvo/UCF Athletics (@MattDeSalvo)

My feelings are best expressed by this video of Shaquem Griffin clapping in the opponent’s face, over and over.

And over.

And over.

UCF looks like the best team in the American Athletic Conference. There are tough games left to play against Navy, USF, and maybe SMU. But with a 40-13 hammering of presumptive AAC West leader Memphis, the UCF Knights are the team to beat.

Candidly, I don’t know where to start with this recap. It’s an embarrassment of riches. Shaquem Griffin had a strip sack of Memphis QB Riley Ferguson, which Pat Jasinski recovered. Tre’Quan Smith had two touchdown catches. Adrian Killins had a 96 yard touchdown run (this broke his own record for longest TD run in UCF history). And also a touchdown after a catch and run. Kyle Gibson had a crazy interception for the second week in a row. Mike Hughes had a great pick, also for the second week in a row. Seyvon Lowry had a big man pick – something we never tire of here.

The statistics are beyond gaudy. UCF had 603 total yards of offense (350 rushing, 253 passing). UCF still hasn’t allowed a sack. UCF’s defense held the Tigers to 75 rushing yards. UCF’s turnover margin is unearthly good, helped by being plus four today. UCF has outscored its three opponents 139-40. Each of those teams has lost only to UCF.

This is also another ‘it wasn’t even as close as the score suggests’ game. Inasmuch as losing by 27 could be considered remotely in the neighborhood. Memphis was down 40-7 and scored a touchdown with no time left on the clock afterwards. This is quite literally the most garbage of garbage time imaginable.

It was a given that UCF would move the ball against Memphis’s injury-depleted defense, but hard to imagine the defense would make the huge stops it did. When I previewed this came before Hurricane Irma, I predicted a shootout. Um, nope.

What I can’t tell you is that it was perfect. McKenzie Milton didn’t always make good choices and threw a bad interception into the end zone. There were some egregious penalties that looked at the time that they might seriously sting us (they didn’t). But dwelling on the relatively few miscues would seem terribly ungrateful. Maybe we’ll pick the nits another day (we won’t).

So there we go. The Knights are 3-0. The Knights blew out FIU (for whatever that’s worth). The Knights clobbered a Big Ten team (hey, those Terps went on to beat Minnesota this week). The Knights have blown out the Tigers, whom many thought would be the best team in the AAC West (they may still wind up in that spot). No one has seriously threatened UCF in the second half of a game all year.

I’ve assumed that this year was setting the table for next year. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe this year is the year.

/insert unbridled optimism here.

Oh, and also highlights.

Go Knights!