It took one minute and eight seconds for War on I-4 rival USF to score off a three-play, 69-yard drive.
But No. 15 UCF (10-0, 7-0 AAC) wouldn’t stay scoreless for long.
On the very next drive, sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton capped off a nine-play, 68-yard drive with a three yard touchdown run to tie the game. From there, a dominating UCF offense outscored the Bulls (9-1, 6-1 AAC) in the first quarter, giving UCF enough cushion to escape the half with a 21-20 lead.
UCF’s defense did a good job containing USF’s ground-and-pound game, but a shaky secondary resulted in a passing clinic put on by senior quarterback Quinton Flowers. Flowers passed for 348 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone. He found three different receivers in the endzone in junior Tyre McCants, graduate student Temi Alaka, and sophomore Mitchell Wilcox.
The Bulls put up 48 total rushing yards while punting twice. A strong defensive line presence resulted in that, along with numerous opportunities to pressure Flowers in the pocket.
Meanwhile, Milton had ease in both the passing and rushing game. He threw for 149 yards, finding seven different receivers, one of which in the endzone. But a strong rushing game combined with high awareness in the pocket allowed him to put additional pressure on a USF defense not playing well.
While seeing Milton rush for 19 yards, the Knights saw additional production on the ground from sophomore Adrian Killins, 59 yards, and freshman Otis Anderson, 20 yards. Killins had one touchdown run while Milton passed and threw for one each.
Flowers completed eight passes of which each went for 20 yards or more. This contributed to his 348 passing yards.
On its first drive after scoring, USF had a 4th and one from the 30 yard line, electing to go for it. It resulted in a turnover on downs and costed the Bulls three points from a potentially made field goal.
USF missed one PAT on its second touchdown, giving UCF a one point lead at the end of the half.
UCF punted four consecutive times in the second half.
This was the third time UCF has been held scoreless in a quarter.