After a slow start in the first half, the 18th ranked UCF Knights rise over adversity and took care of business, in the end, defeating SMU by the final score of 31-24.
The slow start began in the first quarter when UCF was deep in SMU territory, and it was fourth down and one. UCF head Coach Scott Frost decided to go for it instead of taking a field goal, and the offense got stuffed behind the first down markers and turned the ball over on downs.
SMU then proceeded on their first play to go 86 yards to the house after the Knights defense missed about four tackles on that play. SMU was up 7-0 at that point which was the largest deficit that the Knights have faced all season.
A couple of drives later, however, the Knights take the ball 95 yards down the field and ties the game with a McKenzie Milton touchdown run. Milton put the team on his back on that drive.
Next offensive drive, ‘UCFast’ offense strikes again with Milton delivering a beauty to freshman Gabriel Davis for an 80-yard touchdown pass which gets the Knights the lead at 14-7.
However, SMU wasn’t down for the count yet as Milton proceed to throw a pick six at the beginning of the second quarter that got the game tied at 14 apiece.
Towards the end of the first half, the Knights offense begins driving down the field, and then Adrian Killins happens again. Killins’s world-class speed gets the Knights another touchdown, a 34-yard score that got UCF up 21-14 and that was the score to end the half.
Killins was far from finished. On the Knights first drive, Milton hands the ball off to Killins, and well, he’s gone. Killins takes the ball to the house on a 64-yard touchdown run. He has super scary speed and a major game changer.
Killins finished the night with 14 carries, 145 yards, and two touchdowns.
UCF was driving down the field again and was in enemy territory but, tight end Jordan Atkins loses the ball and SMU recovers the football and then capitalizes off that turnover and drives the ball down the field in route to a touchdown that put SMU down by only four.
A couple of drives later, the Knights get the ball and get it down the field off a great pass by Milton to Tre’ Quan Smith deep in SMU territory and got the ball to the one-yard line but SMU defense held the Knights up for a 19-yard field goal that put the Knights up 31-24.
The Knights held on to the lead at that point after SMU dropped a key 4th down play and that sealed the game for the Knights.
This wasn’t the greatest game for the Knights but, this was a game that this year’s team hasn’t been in all year and may help them out later knowing that they know how to win close games.
With the win, the 18th ranked UCF Knights are now 8-0 (5-0 AAC) and are continuing their pursuit to a New Year Six bowl.