In some ways, this felt like just another run-of-the-mill performance from UCF football: A convincing win buoyed by nearly 550 yards of offense, and a defense that racked up 12 tackles for loss and bent more than it broke.
But Saturday's 48-20 victory over SMU also had its quirks. Kicker Matthew Wright recovered a fumble. Defensive tackle Trysten Hill scored a rushing touchdown. Oh, and McKenzie Milton got injured (note: He's OK). So, while it was another UCF blowout, it was far from typical.
Here are the highlights of what Milton, Hill, Wright, head coach Josh Heupel and running back Adrian Killins told the media following the game.
HEAD COACH JOSH HEUPEL
"Good team win. Really like, again, just what our defense has done the last couple weeks. Dominating performance tonight. Played really well, did a good job on third downs. The turnover leads to the one score that [the SMU Mustangs] get. Other than that, they played great football all night long.
"Offensively, I thought we had good balance. Missed a couple of things in the pass game but liked that we were able to chew some things up and pick up some points. ... Overall, pretty solid night."
HIGHLIGHTS!— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) October 7, 2018
#12 @UCF_Football 48, @SMU_Football 20.#UCF is 5-0! https://t.co/c9nt65SOeR
On finally breaking off some long runs with the RBs
"We had a few that popped for those 20-to-30-yard gains. Close to a couple more of them going to the house. Otis (Anderson) did a really nice job on his. We were a little bit cleaner on the line of scrimmage. ... There's still more for us there, but I really liked what they did."
On McKenzie Milton's injury
"[The medical staff] just wanted to check him and make sure that he was alright. He went into the tent, came back and was fine. No issues, no problems. He's 100 percent, ready to go. ... We want to keep him as healthy as possible without eliminating a portion of his game."
Heupel on McKenzie Milton: "We tell him to get down, but he doesn't like to do that too often." #UCF— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 7, 2018
On Trysten Hill's post-TD celebration penalty
"If you want to continue to win, you've got to play smart football. It can never be about you; it's got to be about the team. That's a 15-yard penalty; puts them on the 50, four-down territory. That's a penalty that really is a seven-point play in my mind. There's some things that happened tonight that we've got to correct. Good news is we went 1-0. The positive thing is we'll get a chance to come back on Monday and correct it and push forward."
On kicker Matthew Wright coming close to making tackles
"Yeah, I don't want him in that position all night, but I thought he did a great job. He got a game ball tonight. We stubbed our toe in the red zone a couple times, and he goes out there and drains [two field goals], puts them right through the middle of the uprights."
On UCF being able to stay undefeated for so long
... "There are so many variables that go into a 60-minute game that it's extremely difficult to do. You've got to be willing to go prepare in a great way. You've got to be willing to compete, and it's got to be about the team. Don't care who gets the glory. As long as you have those characteristics inside your locker room, you've got a chance. We've got to continue to grow, learn from this one. Got a big one on the road next weekend against a really good football team (Memphis). It'll be a big test for us."
One very important development that I accidentally overlooked: DB Aaron Robinson played Saturday for the first time since suffering a concussion on the season-opening kickoff at UConn. Here's what Josh Heupel said about seeing Robinson back on the field. #UCF pic.twitter.com/jcfLxTPtTM— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 7, 2018
On if he's watching any of the teams that are ranked ahead of UCF
"It's early in the season. I think by the end of it, college football should have great respect for this conference before this whole thing is all done. You look at all the Power 6 wins these teams in this league have had, whether it's in games that they're playing on the road. I think we've got three undefeated teams in our division alone. There's another one on the other side. This conference can line up and play every single week. For us, it really is one week at a time. If you do anything other than that, I think you're doing yourself and your team a disservice because it's hard to go win and be 1-0 every week. We'll continue to focus on that and at the end of the day, we'll see where that leads us."
On Military Appreciation Night
"I think it's a great night. We've got a bunch of players that have connections and ties, family members and friends that have served in the military. I have family that served in the military. You can't take for granted the opportunity and the privilege it is to live here, and the opportunity that you have. I think it's a great way to recognize all of our troops throughout the entire world that are helping serve our country."
QUARTERBACK MCKENZIE MILTON
On how he's feeling after taking that hard hit
"I'm feeling great. The fans, hearing 40,000-plus people cheering your name coming off the field and coming back on, it kind of gives you extra adrenaline to get back out there. Definitely thankful for Knight Nation, thankful for the trainers kind of just making sure I'm all right. But, yeah, I feel good. Great in-conference win against a good opponent. Just proud of the guys and the way we battled."
#UCF QB McKenzie Milton talks about his second-quarter injury. Said SMU "rang my bell a little." pic.twitter.com/Hd2iSu6kFy— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 7, 2018
On sliding more as a runner
"I knew I was close to the first down, so I was trying to get it. But, yeah, definitely got to get down and not take those kinds of hits."
On his night as a passer
"I think the middle of the field was open most of the day. Our guys did a good job of squirting and catching runners inside. SMU made some good plays on the back end, too; a lot of contested balls. But we knew that coming in. We knew they had good players. Just keep playing each play and eventually we knew it would break open."
On Trysten Hill's touchdown
"That was awesome. I thought the spike was pretty cool, too, but I don't know about the 15 yards. I think he might have to run some gassers next week for that. But it was awesome. Fourth and short, I think it says a lot about our big boys getting push up front, and it was an easy touchdown.
"Everybody eats on this team. That's the beauty of it. Last year, Jamiyus Pittman caught a touchdown, so any time you get those big D-linemen in the end zone, it's always fun. I think it's adrenaline; that's probably why he spiked the ball."
On his connection with TE Michael Colubiale
"He's just a fluid route-runner. I think he has a great feel of spacing in the field. He knows how to get open. You can play him in tight, you can play him out wide or in the slot, so that's a huge weapon to have at tight end. He's going to keep making plays all year."
On scoring 48 points and not being satisfied
"I missed a few easy throws, but it's kind of an "it is what it is" situation. SMU also made some good plays, so I tip my hat to them. But yeah, I think we left some points out there. I don't think we played our best. But that's part of the process. We're about halfway through the season, just keep trying to get better each week, and I feel like we've done that."
FINAL STATS: #12 UCF 48, SMU 20. Knights are 5-0, 2-0 AAC. Next: at Memphis. #UCF #SMUvsUCF pic.twitter.com/MHrbPPvDRF— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) October 7, 2018
On the team's third-down success
"I think it's a credit to the coaches getting us in good situations, game-planning, Kind of knowing what tendencies the defenses are going to bring -- whether they are going to bring pressure or drop out of it -- and just getting good play calls in. Once we get across the 50, we kind of feel like we're in four-down territory. ... So I think that has a big comfortability for us on third down."
On getting back on the road
"You've got to have a road-warrior mentality. It's part of college football, going on the road, tough environment in Memphis. We'll be ready to roll. I think the only difference is flying on a plane."
On Adrian Killins breaking off some long runs
"Any time he gets past the linebackers, I think he's about to score. He almost broke a few, and then Otis Anderson breaking one in the second half; those little guys are hard to see in the hole. Once they squirt out, it's a big play waiting to happen."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE TRYSTEN HILL
#UCF DL Trysten Hill talks about his first-ever touchdown, his dive over the top and that celebration penalty. pic.twitter.com/7G3u2cIJp5— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 7, 2018
On limiting SMU's run game
"The coaches had us dialed in this week. We knew they were going to come out, and they have some really hard tendencies, and they stuck with those tendencies. They didn't come out with anything we didn't see before in practice. Eliminating the run, obviously making them one-dimensional to pass the ball, that was our main goal as a defensive line, as a front seven. We did that."
On his earlier basketball-dunk celebration
"That was pre-meditated. Me and Joey (Connors), we've been working on that all week. Then, of course, the time came for it. That was better than spiking the ball."
Trysten pic.twitter.com/2YUflwkexR— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 6, 2018
KICKER MATTHEW WRIGHT
On his night (two field goals and a fumble recovery)
"The fumble recovery is definitely new; haven't done that before. That's the first time I've ever touched the ball with not my feet."
On what it felt like to recover a fumble
"I was surprised. I thought someone was going to land on me. Once I realized no one was, I thought I should have scooped and scored, so I was a little mad about that."
On SMU's return men hurdling over his tackle attempts
"We're not going to talk about that." (laughs)
On how Heupel reminds the players of the other undefeated teams in the AAC
"He just reminds us that there's other teams out there that are doing what we're doing, so we've just got to keep getting better and better because we know they're getting better and better. We just want to make sure we can do what we can control and make sure we get better each week."
Buy into the team and the Ws will keep flowing ✊— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 7, 2018
Wise words for Coach Heup ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/aM62Lf31mY
RUNNING BACK ADRIAN KILLINS
On breaking off more long runs tonight
"Whatever the coaches call, the offense, we just execute it. In this offense, we can do a lot of different things with a lot of different players. We've got so many players that can do so many things, so it doesn't matter who is in the game or who is going to run what. The offensive line did a phenomenal job, as usual. Week in and week out, every day we come to practice, they get better and better. In the game, it shows up, what we've been working on and perfecting our craft in practice. It shows up on the field on Saturday nights."
On how he feels after taking a career-high 20 carries
"I feel great. I'm just a little sore, but other than that, we got a win and we'll be ready to go back to work Monday and get ready for Memphis."
On what he thought when he saw Milton down on the field
"I've been playing with McKenzie for a long time and he's a tough dude. As you saw, he got back in the game and he did what he needed to do to help the team secure the win."
On Trysten Hill's rushing touchdown
"I know he's been itching to get into that end zone, as you can tell when he did the celebration. Guys like him, they love those moments when they've got a big play in for him. He's been waiting for the coaches to call that play, and his number called and he just went in and did what the coaches told him to do, and he executed it."
On leaving points on the field
"Oh, we most definitely did leave points out there on the field. We're going to go back to the drawing board Monday and see what we didn't do well and what we did do well on. Just move on from there and get ready for Memphis."
WHOA. BIG STAGE FOR #UCF NEXT WEEK. https://t.co/jqDP8fJNJz— Black & Gold Banneret (@UCF_Banneret) October 7, 2018