Milton Leads Knights Over Owls

ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – McKenzie Milton accounted for six touchdowns to lead the No. 16 UCF football team to a 56-36 win over FAU Friday night at Spectrum Stadium.

Milton scored three rushing touchdowns and passed for three more. The junior signal-caller was 21-of-32 passing for 306 yards and did not throw an interception. He was also the Knights’ leading rusher vs. the Owls, carrying the ball 13 times for 81 yards.

Milton’s performance came on the heels of an outing against South Carolina State where he admittedly wasn’t sharp.

“I said earlier in the week, you know the best thing about football is getting to flip the page and play the next game,” Milton said. “You know that’s we did, we took it one play at a time.”

The Knights’ third victory of the season came in front of a more-than-capacity crowd of 44,257. Head coach Josh Heupel said the atmosphere at Spectrum Stadium is an example of the passion of the Knights’ fan base.

“You know coming here, I thought I knew what this place could be,” Heupel said. “The expectations and the capability of what this place can be is greater than what I thought. The passionate fan base - look at the packed house. The student body has been absolutely fantastic the first two weeks of the season. I mean, you walk in that stadium 60 minutes before kickoff, both sides of the end zone are packed out. People are passionate about it. We've got a great brand. It's a pretty fantastic place.”

Senior tight end Michael Colubiale had his best outing as a Knight. He recorded career-bests for receptions and yards receiving, hauling in six Milton aerials for 84 yards. Gabriel Davis caught five passes for 91 yards and a score. Dredrick Snelson and Marlon Williams also caught touchdown passes on the night.

Williams’ TD catch was huge for momentum. The Knights led 14-0 after one quarter. FAU answered with 17 unanswered points to go on top 17-14 with just 1:34 remaining before halftime. But Milton and the Knights raced down the field, going 78 yards in just 1:03. The final 21 yards of that were covered by the Milton-to-Williams connection.

That touchdown put the Knights on top 21-17 at the intermission. UCF never trailed again. The Knights added to their lead on the first possession of the second half. They went 68 yards in 10 plays – capped by a 9-yard run from Milton -- to take a 28-17 advantage.

When things got a little shaky, you know we didn't flinch,” Milton said. “So, I thought that was a big test of character for our team and it was a great win. Hats off to FAU you they played very hard, well-coached team. A lot of talent out there on the field tonight. But, you know our team battled and it was a great team win.

While the defense gave up 36 points and 447 yards, the Black and Gold created three turnovers to help keep the Owls at bay. For the third consecutive game, the Knights created three turnovers. It was the second straight game with three picks.

All three interceptions landed in the hands of linebackers. Senior middle linebacker Pat Jasinski started the pick party on the first possession of the game. He read the eyes of FAU QB Chris Robison, made the play and gave his offense possession at the FAU 40-yard line. Sophomore linebacker Eric Mitchell was up next. With the Knights on top 42-23, the Owls were driving late in the third quarter. Mitchell’s interception of Robison thwarted an Owls’ scoring opportunity. The final takeaway of the night led directly to points. Kyle Gibson came on a safety blitz and tipped Robison’s pass. Shawn Burgess-Becker did the rest, grabbing it out of the air and returning it 40 yards for the score.

“I liked what our defense is doing as far as how they're competing, how they're maturing, the belief in what we're doing,” Heupel said. “They've created three turnovers in every ball game. That's a big part of the game and (we’re) really proud of what they're doing there.”