Knights Pound Pitt, 45-14

ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – The No. 13 UCF football team (4-0, 1-0 AAC) rolled to a 45-14 victory over visiting Pitt (2-3, 1-1 ACC) Saturday at Spectrum Stadium. The Knights sprinted out to a 31-7 halftime lead and cruised to a 45-14 victory.

McKenzie Milton accounted for all six UCF touchdowns, either with his arm or his legs. Milton scored rushing touchdowns of 5 and 23 yards. He also passed for four touchdowns. Milton finished 18-of-34 passing for 328 yards to go along with his four scoring strikes. He rushed for 51 yards on 10 carries.

Despite those numbers and the big victory, Milton said there is still room for improvement.

“I’m not satisfied, not at all,” Milton said. “I thought we left some points out there. Any time you step on the field, you want to improve, whether it’s going from this game to Monday’s practice, you've always got to find an edge. If you get complacent, you get nipped in the butt in college football.”

Adrian Killins was on the receiving end of 140 of Milton’s passing yards. On the Knights’ second possession, facing 3rd-and-7 at their own 31-yard line, Milton instructed Killins to hit an option route to the inside. That improvisation resulted in a 64-yard gain, which set up the Knights’ first TD, a 5-yard Milton run. On the Knights’ first possession of the second half, Milton and Killins effectively put the game away. Killins came open on a seam route, Milton hit him in stride and 71 yards later, the Knights were on top 38-7.

“AK is a dynamic playmaker,” UCF head coach Josh Heupel said of Killins. “Whether it's kick return, if he's the punt returner, if he's a running back, whether he's a wide receiver, he can play. He's versatile. He can do about anything you ask him to do. He's electric when he’s got the ball in his hands in space.”

UCF, which came into the game scoring 50 points per game, could have scored more. The Knights settled for a field goal just before halftime after reaching the Pitt 4-yard line. Late in the third quarter, the Knights went for it on 4th-and-goal from the Panthers’ 4-yard line and didn’t convert.

Defensively, UCF held Pittsburgh to just 109 yards rushing on 33 carries. The Panthers were averaging 212 yards per game coming into the contest. The Knights also picked up another turnover and it was an important takeaway. With the Knights leading 21-7 and Pittsburgh threatening to score, Richie Grant stepped in front of a Kenny Pickett aerial at the UCF 8-yard line and returned it 25 yards.

The Knights cashed that turnover in nine plays later, when Milton found tight end Michael Colubiale in the back of the end zone to give the Knights a commanding 28-7 advantage.

Nate Evans paced the defense with a career-best 11 tackles, including half a sack. Grant tacked on eight stops to go with his interception. As a unit, the Knights racked up nine tackles for loss, including three sacks. Defensive ends Randy Charlton and Brendon Hayes tallied two of the sacks, while Evans and Kyle Gibson shared the other.

“Our (first team) defense played lights out,” Heupel said. “33 rushes for 109 yards. We held and dominated the line of scrimmage. That was a test for them going into it. That was the challenge and our guys answered that challenge.”

The Knights now return to American Athletic Conference play, hosting the SMU Mustangs next Saturday at 7 p.m.