Beating the Bearcats

ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) - For the seventh time in 10 years, the Knights are going bowling. UCF picked up its sixth victory of the season Saturday, stopping Cincinnati, 24-3.

Following the game, head coach Scott Frost said it was a pretty special day.

"I'm happy for our players," Frost said. "I told them you don't get much in this life that you don't earn and they've earned the success they have. With all the work they put in, believing in what we were asking them to do and taking care of one another, (this is a) big-time accomplishment for them. I look forward to coaching them ... three more times now."

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A big special teams play changed the momentum midway through the third quarter. With UCF leading 10-3, the Knights' defense forced a three-and-out. On Cincinnati's punt attempt, sophomore Tre Neal broke through the protection and blocked a Bearcat punt. Senior Justin McDonald scooped the ball up at the Cincinnati 23-yard line and raced into the end zone untouched to put UCF on top, 17-3.

"I felt good about that game as long as we were up two scores, with the way our defense was playing," Frost said. "I didn't expect to get that punt block, but Tre Neal came in and got it. A lot of credit to Coach (Jovan) Dewitt. He's done a really good job with the special teams this year and special teams came up big for us."

The defense looked to get into the scoring act in the fourth quarter. Senior Errol Clarke -- who already had three sacks -- was all over Cincinnati QB Hayden Moore. Moore tried to throw it away, but it went right to junior defensive lineman Seyvon Lowry. The ball bounced off Lowry's knees and up into his hands. The Jacksonville, Fla., returned it 42 yards to the end zone, but a live-ball celebration penalty negated the touchdown.

Three plays later, the offense got in the end zone anyway. Freshman running back Jawon Hamilton broke through the right side of the line and cruised to a 25-yard touchdown. The Matthew Wright PAT made it, 24-3.

The Knights grabbed a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a 22-yard Wright field goal. UCF lit the scoreboard with a touchdown on its next possession as true freshmen McKenzie Milton and Dredrick Snelson hooked up for a one-yard touchdown pass, capping a 10-play, 56-yard scoring drive. UCF led 10-0 after the first quarter of play.

Cincinnati scored its only points midway through the second quarter on a Josh Pasley 22-yard field goal that cut the score to 10-3 at halftime.

Milton On The Money

  • McKenzie Milton opened the game with two incompletions. He then completed his next 13 pass attempts, the second most consecutive completions in school history.
  • The school record of 15 consecutive completions is held by Daunte Culpepper.
    • Culpepper set the record on Oct. 11, 1997 vs. Samford in a 52-7 UCF victory.
  • Milton finished 22-of-34 for 150 yards and one TD.

Errol's Everywhere

  • Senior Errol Clarke came into the game with three career sacks. He left the game with six, after taking down Bearcat QBs three times.
  • Clarke tallied eight tackles vs. Cincinnati, ranking No. 2 on the team behind D.J. Killings, who matched a career-best with 11 stops.
  • Clarke also tallied four tackles for-loss and forced two fumbles in the contest.

UCFierce Facts

  • UCF came into the game ranked 13th in the nation for most three-and-outs forced by the defense, averaging 4.9 per game. The Knights came up with seven three-and-outs on 16 Bearcat possessions Saturday.
  • Cincinnati did not convert a third down in the first half, going 0-for-6. The Bearcats were 5-of-19 (26.9 percent) for the game. UCF was ranked No 18 in the nation at 32.2% coming into the contest.
  • UCF was also solid in the red zone Saturday. The Knights entered the game No. 9 in the nation in red zone defense, allowing scores on 69.8% of opponent trips inside the 20. Cincinnati was 1-of-2 Saturday.