Here’s Why We Won
McKenzie Milton got it done one way or another
Milton started the game 1-for-7 and we weren’t able to get anything going offensively. We were held scoreless in the first quarter for just the second time all season and trailed 3-0 going into the second quarter.
While KZ still struggled through the air, he got it done with his legs in the first half, rushing for 83 yards as the Knights took at 13-6 lead into the break. The young quarterback finished the game with a career high 116 yards on the ground.
In the second half, when we needed him to, KZ got it going through the air. The Peach Bowl Offensive MVP finished with 242 passing yards and two passing touchdowns to go with one score on the ground. Milton was 13-of-18 passing in the second half.
“Yeah, you know, we kind of came out sleepwalking, throwing the ball in the air. I don’t know if it was the big lights or the big Jumbotron. You know, I think we kind of started hitting our stride later in the second quarter and then in the third and fourth quarter we started rolling.” – McKenzie Milton
The O-Line came to play
Against an Auburn defensive line that everyone was talking about all week and all year, our offensive lineman stood up to the challenge.
The o-line gave Milton time to find his targets and opened up enough holes to give him space to run for over 100 yards for the first time in his career. At the end of the day, the daunting Tiger d-line only managed one sack against the UCF big men up front.
Shaquem and the Squad were in the Auburn backfield all day
The UCF defense recorded season highs of 10 tackles-for-loss and five sacks in the win over Auburn, wreaking havoc on the Tigers. Every miscue, including a pair of picks, were helped in large part due to the pressure from Shaquem Griffin and our ferocious front seven.
Griffin, the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Defensive MVP, had his best day of the season on the biggest day of the season. He finished with a team high 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and 1.5 sacks in the victory.
“This guy over here (Griffin) was playing like his dreadlocks were on fire today. Every time I looked up, he was running somebody down and making a play and making a sack. A lot of credit to Coach Chinander and his staff and that group of guys on defense. I told them before the game they needed to play harder than Auburn and they did.” – Scott Frost
Burkett’s Big Play sealed the deal
Chequan Burkett picked a great time to come up with his second career interception. The fifth year senior read Jarrett Stidham perfectly, intercepting the pass and returning it 45 yards for his first ever pick-six.
Burkett’s score put UCF up 34-20, ultimately sealing the victory for the Knights.
“We were in man coverage and just tried to pressure them and my dude blocked so I just zoned off and I saw the ball come to me, so I just jumped and grabbed it. I mean nothing really else to it. Those guys got to the quarterback and made him panic and I just had to execute like I could.” – Tre Neal