ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFKnights.com) – The UCF football team opened the 2017 season with a bang on Thursday night at Spectrum Stadium, as the Knights toppled FIU 61-17 behind a career night from sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton.
Melton was on fire completing 16 of 21 for 360 yards, passing for 4 touchdowns and just one interception. After an up and down first quarter where Melton lead the Knight to the end zone on 2 of 5 offensive possessions, Melton then orchestrated 4 scoring drives in the second quarter. The Knights as a team produced 26 points in that same period entering the half up 40 – 10.
Rewind…The Knights struck first on their opening drive and never looked back. The offense marched the ball down the field on a six-play, 75-yard drive. Milton hit Tre’Quan Smith for a 19-yard first down on third-and-9 from their own 26. Back-to-back passes to freshman Gabriel Davisfor 26 and seven yards took the Black and Gold to the FIU 22. Milton dropped back to pass and hit senior Jordan Akins down the middle and over a defender for the opening score of the game.
Following a field goal by FIU kicker Jose Borregales to cut the UCF lead to 14-10, the Knights caught fire and struck for 40 straight points. UCF took a commanding 40-10 lead into the break, outgaining the Panthers 219 to 41 in the process. Six different players put points on the board for the Black and Gold, as Milton was 6-for-9 for 182 yards and one touchdown during the streak.
357 – The number of passing yards UCF QB McKenzie Melton threw for in the first half. “I did have a lot of time,” Milton said after the game. “Our O-line did awesome job today and they have been doing a great job since spring ball. The strides they have made from last year to this year is day and night and I can’t appreciate them enough. I love those guys death.”
Cool stat: True and redshirt freshmen totaled 183 yards of offense and two touchdowns. 13 Different receivers caught passes for the Knights. SNELSON and DAVIS both with four receptions while SMITH, ANDERSON and LOGAN-GREENE each needed the game with 3 receptions. The five accounted for 276 yards and 1 receiving TD.
The Knights defense held strong allowing 335 total yards to the Panthers. FIU did have some success running the football which accounted for 134 of the 335 yards earned. Gaither High School Alum QB Alex McGough threw for 201 yards in the season opener going 18 of 31, I INT and 1 TD for the night.
The Knights look to take the momentum into next Saturday’s matchup against American Athletic Conference foe Memphis at Spectrum Stadium. The game is scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPNews.