UCF Football Rolls Past Villanova, Improves to 3-0

by Justin Wilson

ORLANDO – For the third consecutive game, the UCF offense surpassed 500 total yards and the defense held the opponent to fewer than 20 points as the Knights cruised past Villanova with a 48-14 victory Saturday night at FBC Mortgage Stadium.

The Knights compiled 600 yards of total offense and limited Villanova to just 228 yards, with 190 coming in the second half. Through the first three games, UCF leads the nation in total offense averaging 617.7 yards per game. Defensively, the Knights are one of just 10 Power 5 teams and one of two in the Big 12 Conference to hold their opponent to 16 points or fewer in every game this season.

“I’m real proud of our team and improving to 3-0. That was a classic game that was set up for a letdown with an emotional win last week and losing our starting quarterback, one of our team leaders. Villanova is a very quality program, top 20 in their division and well-coached.”

Gus MalzahnHead Coach

UCF scored on its first possession of the game and never trailed en route to earning its second win against the Wildcats in the all-time series and first meeting between the teams since 2006.

Making his first UCF start, quarterback Timmy McClain passed for a career-high 321 yards on 20-for-28 passing with a pair of touchdowns. The Sanford, Florida, native settled in nicely leading the Knights’ offense as he completed six consecutive passes in the second quarter amassing 135 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, one of which was called back due to a penalty.

For the second consecutive game, Kobe Hudson set a career high with 147 yards on six catches surpassing his previous best (134) achieved last week at Boise State. It also marked the first time Hudson has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in consecutive games.

RJ Harvey led the rushing attack with 85 yards on 14 carries, finding the endzone twice.

A pair of one-yard rushing touchdowns from sophomore running back Jordan McDonald and a Colton Boomer field goal gave the Knights an early 17-0 lead following the first quarter. McDonald logged his first game with multiple touchdowns in his young UCF career.

In the second quarter, Harvey found the endzone for the third time on the year with a five-yard rushing touchdown to push the Knights’ lead to 24-0. A few minutes later, McClain found Javon Baker for a 25-yard strike for his first touchdown pass in a UCF uniform.

Jaylon Griffin reeled in his first career touchdown on a 36-yard pass from McClain.

“Offensively, I thought we did some good things," said Malzahn. "It was really good for Timmy to be out there. He hadn’t started a game in two years, and I thought he was really good. There were a couple things early I know he’d like to have back, but there’s nothing like experiencing it. He started settling down and settling in I think that second quarter."

UCF was dominant on defense in the first half, limiting Villanova to just three first downs and 38 yards on 24 plays. The Wildcats had just one passing yard and were 0-for-6 on third downs before the intermission.

Captains Jason Johnson and Josh Celiscar led the charge defensively, each with six tackles, while Lee Hunter recorded five. Tre’mon Morris-Brash tallied four stops – all solo – with two tackles for loss and a sack.

After garnering Lou Groza Award Star of the Week and Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors, sophomore kicker Colton Boomer continued his strong start to the season as he was 2-for-2 on the day, connecting on a 26-yard and a 41-yard field goal. He was also a perfect 6-for-6 on extra point attempts.

The Knights open Big 12 play next weekend at No. 15 Kansas State. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 23 from Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Fox Sports 1.

I’m really happy with our team, the way they came out and responded and put these guys away early. Now it’s time for the real season with the Big 12.

Gus MalzahnHead Coach