Friday night’s primetime matchup was billed as a battle between two Group of Five powers. UCF and FAU, both coming off their best seasons in school history, were looking to establish themselves at the top of the mid majors.
Instead, the Knights blew out the Owls after a contested first half, winning 56-36 in front of a home crowd of 44,257.
Junior quarterback McKenzie Milton had one of the best games of his career, finishing with 306 passing yards, 81 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.
UCF’s defense got off to an outstanding start, dominating FAU for most of the first quarter. On the Owls’ first three drives, they gained just 25 yards and only one first down. Redshirt freshman Chris Robison looked overwhelmed early on, completing just three passes in the first quarter and throwing an interception.
The Knights took an early 14-0 lead, but momentum swung back towards the Owls near the end of the first quarter, after they picked up a first down on a fake punt. Behind junior Devin Singletary, FAU ignited the run game and continued to pick up first downs throughout the rest of the half. The Owls went on to score 17 unanswered points and were looking to go into halftime with the lead when they kicked off to UCF.
The Knights, however, blazed down the field as junior quarterback McKenzie Milton threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Williams just before halftime to retake the lead. FAU couldn’t respond in the final 30 seconds and UCF went into halftime up 21-17.
Despite a closely contested first half, UCF’s offense ran away with the game in the third quarter. Milton looked like a bona fide Heisman candidate, rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for another in that quarter alone. The Knights scored as many points in the third quarter as they did in all of the first half, taking a commanding 42-23 lead into the fourth quarter.
UCF’s offense continued to roll in the fourth quarter, as it went on to win 56-36. The Knights will take on Pitt at home next Saturday.