Sports

Football Begins Heupel Era with Win

Knights ascend in national rankings; Quarterback McKenzie Milton is named The American's Offensive Player of the Week

By UCF Athletics |
August 31, 2018

Football player in white jersey and black pants runs into end zone with referee looking on

UCF running back Adrian Killins Jr. scores the first touchdown of the 2018 season for the Knights in the Aug. 30 win at UConn. (Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics)

The UCF football team did not disappoint in the first game of the Josh Heupel era. The Knights racked up 652 yards of total offense, the defense came away with three turnovers, and UCF laid a 56-17 beatdown on UConn in its season opener Thursday night on the road.

The Knights extended their nation-leading winning streak to 14 games and will look to keep momentum rolling as they return home for a 6 p.m. matchup against South Carolina State on Sept. 8 at Spectrum Stadium.

“I thought we came out and played really well in all three phases,” Heupel said. “I talked about adversity a lot with the guys over the last eight months, and they handled it so well. It’s a very mature group that woke up ready to play. I’m really proud of what they’ve done here. Our goal was to go 1-0, and that’s what we did here.”

Quarterback McKenzie Milton got his #HIsman campaign off to a solid start, throwing for 346 yards and five touchdowns. It was the ninth 300-yard passing game of Milton’s career and the fifth time he’s thrown for four touchdowns or more.

The junior was recognized for his effort Monday when he was named the American Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week. It marks the fifth career Player of the Week nod for Milton, who earned four throughout last season.

The offense defined efficiency, scoring in 2 minutes, 39 seconds or less on each of its scoring drives. The Knights put points on the scoreboard on 8-of-9 offensive possessions (not including running the clock out at the end of each half). The Knights steadily logged 14 points in each quarter.

“It was a lot of fun to go out and play another game and the first one since January 1,” Milton said. “I felt the offseason went by kind of fast, but that’s what happens when you’re having fun. We have a great group of guys. It shows the work we put in this offseason.”

Thanks to the win, the Knights moved up in the national polls, ranking No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and No. 20 in the latest Amway Coaches Poll. UCF is currently the highest ranked program from the state of Florida.

Sept. 8 Home Opener vs. South Carolina State

This fan guide to the 2018 season — which offers details on parking, tickets, tailgating and more — is a must read before heading to Spectrum Stadium on Saturday.