EAST ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Scott Frost’s UCF Knights ended the 2016 season losing their final three games including a 31-13 loss in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando in mid-December. Sophomore McKenzie Milton threw a career-high four touchdown passes as the Knights kicked off 2017 with a 61-17 victory over Florida International University at Spectrum Stadium Thursday.
Milton, who threw 10 touchdowns as freshman last season, opened the scoring by throwing a 22-yard touchdown to senior tight end Jordan Akins. True freshman Gabriel Davis, from Seminole High School in Sanford, led the team with four catches for 53 yards and a 10-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
“It was a good start. You never know exactly what you’re going to get in the first game. Our next game is going to be a big challenge.” – UCF Head Coach Scott Frost
Milton used his ability to get out of the pocket to cause problems for the Panther defense in his two-and-a-half quarters of action. He lead the Knights to score on 5 of the 6 chances in the red zone and had a 50-yard touchdown pass as well.
“I just tried to go out there and do my job for the team and give us the best chance to win.” – UCF starting quarterback McKenzie Milton
UCF scored 26 unanswered points after FIU closed the game to 14-10 early in the second quarter. The Knights had four additional series that each had no more than six total plays.
The UCF defense continued their stellar play on defense Thursday night by forcing four turnovers leading to scoring drives by Milton and the offense. They held FIU to 123 yards rushing and only 3-12 on third downs.
Jawon Hamilton led the Knights with 57 yards rushing and a 16-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.
UCF will return home in one week to host Memphis at Spectrum Stadium on September 9th.
- UCF – 12:43 – Akins 22-yard touchdown catch from Milton (8-0 UCF)
- FIU – 9:30 – Owens 75-yard touchdown catch from McGough (8-7 FIU)
- UCF – 7:28 – Smith 50-yard touchdown catch from Milton (14-7 UCF)
- FIU – 12:49 – Borregales 39-yard field goal (14-10 FIU)
- UCF – 11:44 – Davis 10-yard touchdown catch Milton (21-10 UCF)
- UCF – 7:52 – Team safety (23-10 UCF)
- UCF – 5:13 – Hamilton 16 yard touchdown run (UCF 30-10)
- UCF – 00:53 – McGowan 1-yard touchdown run (UCF 37-10)
- UCF – 00:00 – Wright 44-yard field goal (UCF 40-10)
- UCF – Smith touchdown catch from Milton (UCF 47-10)
- UCF – Richardson 10-yard touchdown run (UCF 54-10)
- FIU – Maxwell 51-yard touchdown run (UCF 54-17)
- UCF – McCrae 6-yard touchdown run (UCF 64-17)
Danny Thompson is a sports contributor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org