The #21 UCF Knights picked up exactly where they left off, dismantling UConn 56-17 in East Hartford on national television.
With a new coaching staff and new schemes in place, the big question was if UCF could continue its high level of dominance. First-year head coach Josh Heupel proved he belongs, leading UCF to 652 yards of total offense in the win over the Huskies.
Not going to lie, this felt really good 1-0 and couldn’t be more happy for these guys after 8 months of putting in work! Can’t wait to get back to Orlando & in front of Knight Nation in the Bounce House! #GoKnights #ChargeOn pic.twitter.com/DHKJqcJ5oO— Josh Heupel (@coachjoshheupel) August 31, 2018
This is the Knights' 14th consecutive win, the longest active streak in the nation. They also improve to 18-1 playing as an AP Top-25 team.
Mack Is Back
QB McKenzie Milton looked like he was in mid-season form, going 24/32 for 346 yards and five touchdowns - his third five-touchdown game as a Knight.
A 346 yard, five touchdown night...not a bad way to open the 2018 season. @UCF_Football quarterback McKenzie Milton is tonight's Player of the Game in the Knights' win over UConn. #AmericanFB pic.twitter.com/0qufmJ6VOs— American Football (@American_FB) August 31, 2018
Newcomer and Ole Miss transfer WR Tre Nixon led the receiving corps with 5 catches for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. In total, the Knights offense had 652 yards and 31 first downs while only possessing the ball for 21 minutes. Josh Heupel's offense looked similar to what we saw from Scott Frost last season. There's no doubt UCF will still be one of the best in the nation with the ball in their hands.
Bend But Don't Break
On defense, the Knights had a tough time containing UConn QB David Pindell. Pindell ran for 157 yards on 22 carries and threw for 266 yards. Pindell is a great athlete, but a large part of his success was due to UCF missing tackles.
That said, the defense stepped up big on 4th down and made some big plays when it mattered most. As one of the leading teams in turnover margin last season, they continued their success, forcing three turnovers tonight to kill some long UConn drives.
There are a lot of things to improve upon, especially on the defensive side of the ball. All in all, UCF fans couldn't have asked for much more in a season-opening conference game. The Knights will be back in action next Saturday against South Carolina State, an FCS team. That should serve as the perfect opportunity to work on some of the mistakes we saw tonight, making sure the team is ready for that trip to North Carolina in Week 3.