UCF Knights fans are not used to having teams that can make loads of mistakes and still win by a dominant margin.
Well, that’s what we’ve got now. Despite sometimes sloppy play (especially in the third quarter), the ultimate outcome was never in doubt.
Early on, it looked like things would wind up even more lopsided than they did. The UConn Huskies’ second drive was a disaster. Tony Guerard fell on a dropped toss. Though initially ruled an incomplete pass by UConn QB David Pindell was reversed on review and ruled a fumble and Knights’ ball.
And then some of the mistakes were on display. The Knights immediately moved backwards thanks to a trio of successive penalties – an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Scott Frost on the reversed play, holding, and then a false start. Ultimately the Knights were flagged ten times for 84 yards. Though groan-inducing, this trio of penalties didn’t end up meaning much – a couple of plays later (including a nice 15 yard run by Tre’Quan Smith) and freshman WR Marlon Williams had his first career touchdown. That score – coupled with earlier touchdown runs by Otis Anderson and Adrian Killins Jr. – put the Knights up 21-3, still in the first quarter.
But the Huskies didn’t lie down. They stopped the Knights’ second drive on fourth down (UCF and UConn went a combined 0-5 on fourth down conversion attempts). And then added their first touchdown of the day when Pindell perfectly executed a RPO play and found a ludicrously wide open Mason Donaldson in the end zone.
Not that it mattered all that much. UCF answered with a drive capped off with a 41 yard touchdown pass from McKenzie Milton to Tre’Quan Smith. Smith simply had a tremendous day, totaling seven receptions for 120 yards. And in the fourth quarter, Smith’s blocking was clutch in enabling a sixty-five yard touchdown run by Anderson.
UConn came out of the half swinging with a lightning quick, 91 yard touchdown drive (UConn’s longest drive of the year). Pindell showed some nice moves on the drive (including on his nine yard run to get the touchdown) and threw a long pass to an uncovered Arkeel Newsome.
UCF looked to be in a great position to answer, but Otis Anderson was stripped while making a nifty run after a catch. And though the Knights forced a quick three and out, their ensuing drive was simply bad. A botched snap resulted in a loss of 14 yards. Then Killins was tackled for a loss. And then a sack of Milton ended the series.
The offense was ineffective throughout the third, leaving the Knights with only their second scoreless quarter of the year.
The Knights looked more like themselves in the fourth quarter and poured on 21 points. Anderson redeemed himself with the aforementioned 65 yard touchdown run. It was the longest run this year by any Knight not named Adrian Killins Jr. Milton ran for a touchdown. And when Noah Vedral entered the game at quarterback for the Knights, he threw a 35 yard touchdown pass to an incredibly wide open Cam Stewart.
The Knights defensive backups allowed a Huskies touchdown with 36 seconds left in the game.
At 9-0, the Knights best start in program history continues. And with nine in a row, UCF’s also tied for the longest winning streak in program history.
The Knights travel to Temple next week.