After 51 points, more than 500 yards of total offense, and heavy rain and lightning in the Cincinnati area, The American Athletic Conference called a merciful end to UCF's dismantling of the Bearcats after just three quarters. This will go down as one of the strangest games in UCF history.
October 8, 2017
It was a virtuoso performance for the offense, which scored on seven straight possessions to end the game, and looked headed for a 60 or perhaps even 70 spot when the rains came. Career nights were cut short. But maybe that was a good thing.
And now UCF is 4-0 for the first time since the 1988 season, when the Knights were in Division II and started 5-0 under Gene McDowell - the best start in school history.
Here's the breakdown:
The offense. I said last week after the Memphis game that this was how the Scott Frost/Oregon Offense was supposed to work.
I take that back: THIS is how it's supposed to look. The sheer numbers were staggering, especially when you consider that this was after only three quarters:
- 515 yards of total offense on 40 plays
- 12.9 yards per play
- Scored on all eight possessions
Look at this madness:
The Knights did this in just over fifteen minutes of possession. It was as if UCF was playing offense against 9 defenders.
I wanted to see more. Then they stopped the game. I felt cheated.
Occasionally, the defense. Yes, they held Cincy to just 23 points, but they did give up 391 yards in three quarters, and Hayden Moore, Cincinnati's competent but beleaguered quarterback, had a decent night: 23/40, 278 yards, TD, INT, plus 75 rush yards and two rushing TDs.
This was the bend-but-don't-break philosophy that Frost wanted from #UCFierce. Yes, you're going to give up some chunks on occasion, but the goal is to get the ball back to the offense, whatever it takes. Still, Moore's day, to me, is an indication that there might be some weaknesses for squads like Navy and USF to exploit, given how much more talented they are on offense compared to the Bearcats.
The penalties. This was the one real blemish on the performance, especially on defense. On the last Bearcat drive of the first half, UCF got flagged for three consecutive offsides, which helped Cincy to a field goal to end the half.
The final tally was eight penalties for 44 yards for the Knights. All in all, it's not that bad, and most of those penalties were aggression penalties, not stupid ones. But against the likes of Cincinnati, UCF can get away with that. Against a disciplined team like Navy, not so much.
McKenzie Milton and Tre'Quan Smith. This is preposterous:
- Milton - 16/19, 374 yards, 5 TDs
- Smith - 5 catches, 165 yards, 3 TDs, plus one rush for five yards and a TD.
They should print that out and frame it in the offensive coaching staff office because it was a work of art:
w h a t a d i m e— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 8, 2017
KZ ⏩ Tre’Quan = 37-13 pic.twitter.com/QvvFkEtvfb
The Turning Point
It was hard to pick one, because UCF pretty much dominated from the opening kickoff. But after Cincinnati went down and scored their first touchdown of the game to cut the Knights' lead to 13-7 in the first, the offense responded with an 8-play, 75-yard march in 3:21, capped off by Taj McGowan following Jamiyus Pittman's lead into the end zone:
Follow the big fellas in Taj!— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 8, 2017
20-7 with 1:32 to play in the 1st.#UCFvsCIN pic.twitter.com/mc2cMYIhAE
Fans of the Night
U-C-F! U-C-F! pic.twitter.com/LQElMh2LNB— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) October 8, 2017
Stats of the Night
Football Highlights - UCF 51, Cincinnati 23— American Football (@American_FB) October 8, 2017
There were 25 'chunk plays' (15+ yds pass; 10+ yds rush) in the @UCF_Football win pic.twitter.com/0mzsrEWon3
That's 25 of UCF's 40 total plays. Total dominance.
Also: UCF has scored 25 touchdowns in four games. I mean, come on.
East Carolina, at home next Saturday at 7 p.m. for Homecoming. ECU is 1-5, and probably doesn't want to acknowledge they're playing us next week very much, considering they're giving up 47.8 points per game:
The Pirates fall to Temple pic.twitter.com/ZtiEgSWeAF— ECU Athletics (@ECUAthletics) October 7, 2017
This should be fun.