ORLANDO, Fla — In his first season at UCF, Scott Frost promised to bring fast, exciting football to Orlando. He promised that he would find kids to fit his system, that he would mold this team into his image. In his second season, Frost made a statement in week one with a 61-17 victory over Butch Davis’ Panthers.
“It was a good start. I’ve seen our team improve in camp and in the offseason. It carried over to the field, which is great to see, you never know exactly what you are going to get in the first game. I think our guys were ready to play,” said Coach Frost of the effort.
Here’s a look at some of the storylines coming out of UCF’s opening victory.
McKenzie Milton 2.0
Milton was rushed into action his freshman season and looked underdeveloped at times. He was unstoppable in his sophomore debut, topping career highs with 360 passing yards and 4 touchdowns through the air – to three different receivers. Tre’Quan Smith came down with a pair of scores, Freshman Gabe Davis hauled in a touchdown and 53 yards, and Jordan Akins snatched his own score out of the air early in the first quarter.
“What you saw on the field today is what we have been seeing at practice for almost two years, and it carried over onto the field tonight,” praised Frost after the game.
Gabe Davis, Tre’Quan Smith and Dredrick Snelson are Deadly
If you follow UCF football, you know that Tre’Quan Smith is the kind of talent that can elevate an entire program. Those who saw him work out this offseason raved about his raw talent at the position, and it seems like he now has a couple of deadly counterparts.
Freshman Gabe Davis is a monster of a target at six-foot-three-inches, one of the hardest workers from fall camp. He was open often and early, ending the day with just 53 yards, but clearly displaying what his capabilities are. When Snelson got open he did so quietly – but in a major fashion. He led the team with 98 receiving yards on just four receptions.
Expect to see this trio constantly press defensive boundaries, causing mismatches everywhere on the field with tight ends and running backs alike.
No Fly Zone
When you graduate an entire position group, logic doesn’t tell you that the group will improve. It just doesn’t compute. UCF, however, has found a way around common logic in the development of their secondary. Safeties Kyle Gibson, Tre Neal and Antwan Collier made play after play while terrorizing FIU Quarterback Alex McGough and his receivers alike. Tre Neal had a momentum shifting interception, Collier forced a fumble and Gibson recovered a fumble of his own.
“I thought the defense played well. Really, if we hadn’t turned it over in the first half, then I think we would have gone into halftime sitting in a really good place defensively. We gave up one long play in the first half. We have to fix those things, but I think we played really hard on defense, stopped the majority of what they presented to us,” said Frost about the defense as a whole.
As a unit they held FIU to just 201 yards through the air – and 75 yards of that damage came off of a single play in the first quarter. The inexperienced group has serious talent to work with.
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