The 20th ranked UCF Knights played a hard-fought game against easily their best opponent thus far in Navy and won the game late 31-21 to improve to 6-0 on the season.
The Knights got off to a great start to begin the game as they always do by going to the length of the field that was finished off by a McKenzie Milton touchdown pass to Tre’ Quan Smith and took an early 7-0 lead.
Defensively, in the early going, the Knights ‘UCFierce’ defense was putting the coveted Navy triple run option style offense on lockdown making look as if this game may go like every other UCF Knight game this year. They made Navy go three and out for the first two drives of the game.
However, things started to change after the Knights offense failed to convert on a fourth and one from the Navy three-yard line. That’s when Navy’s triple run option offense began to click.
Navy quarterback, Zach Abey began to fool the defense a little bit and got into the heads of the Knights as they quickly tied the game in the second quarter right after the drive that Milton appeared to injure his right hamstring and had to leave the previous drive early.
Milton came back after Navy scored and quickly got the Knights down the field again which ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by the speedster Adrian Killins and that’s not all he did either.
Navy again fooled the Knights with their offense by finally deciding to pass the ball late in the second quarter and had a play that gashed the Knights defense but was able to make a stand and got a pick at the end of the half. It was 14-7 at the half.
After Navy scored to begin the second half that tied the game at 14, Killins strikes again with a huge 79-yard sprint all the way to the end zone for the easy score. Killins continues to prove that he might be the fastest player in college football. He finished the night 15 carries, 122 yards, and two touchdowns.
The next drive, Navy’s QB Abey got drilled by Shaquem Griffin and was taken out for the rest of the game and which meant that backup quarterback Garret Lewis had to come in.
Navy scored another touchdown off that triple option again and got the game to 24-21. The next drive, Milton threw an ill-advised pass and got picked off and got the fingernail biting to begin for Knights fans.
But the resilience defense came up big on the very next drive with the birth of Brandon Moore becoming great. On the play, Moore was not fooled by the handoff and destroyed running back Darryl Bonner, forcing him to fumble the ball and gained recovery of the ball all in one sequence. That was the play of the game.
The only thing you hope after that play was if Moore thanked Bonner for his services. That’s how vicious that hit was.
Very next drive, Otis Anderson took over that drive and got the easy TD put the icing on the cake for the Knights, and that was all she wrote.
One stat line to look at is the running game as the Knights Outrushed Navy. The Knights had 247 to Navy’s 236. That’s alarming as that is where Navy’s bread and butter come from, the running game.
This was a huge win for the Knights as they showed everyone that they could win close games and show out when the lights are on bright and don’t shy away from the big moments. They got better today, no doubt about it.
With the win, the 20th ranked Knights are now 6-0 for the first time in school history. They also have clinched a Bowl game appearance for the second straight season.
They also look as if they are on a collision course to go up against rival USF who is also currently undefeated. At this rate, that may be a top 10 match-up and a chance to a new-year six bowl.
But they have to look at one game at a time. Their next game on the bracket for the Knights will be Austin Peay.