ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF (3-0) left no questions on the field while cruising to their first 3-0 start since 2013, picking apart the once-undefeated Memphis Tigers (3-1) with apparent ease (and fun) in a 40-13 victory at Spectrum Stadium.
“I love being these guys’ coach. That was an unbelievable performance by our guys,” said Head Coach Scott Frost. “We beat a really good team tonight and we out-played them.”
The Knights didn’t just put their heads down and power through a nasty conference battle. They owned this field, churning out 603 yards of total offense while keeping Memphis out of the end zone for all but the first and final Tigers’ possession.
At every big juncture of this game, there was a Knight making a head-turning play on both sides of the ball. Adrian Killins exploded for 179 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns to lead the offense, setting records along the way. McKenzie Milton ended the day with 19 completions on 31 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, and the lockdown UCF defense forced four turnovers.
Kyle Gibson, Mike Hughes and even defensive lineman Seyvon Lowry each ripped an interception out of the air in an impressive shutdown of Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson – who was proclaimed an NFL-level talent headed into this game.
“We never worry about the stats, we never worry about what is being talked about,” said linebacker Shaquem Griffin. Griffin compared the attitude to that of a track star – you may think you’re the fastest on the field, but you’ve got to be the fastest on the field every day for it to count. Nobody is better than their effort on any particular day.
Today, nobody was better than UCF, and nobody was faster than Adrian Killins. Killins first score of the day went for 96 long yards, good enough to set the record for longest run in both UCF and American Athletic Conference history. The record he broke? His own, set last year against Michigan.
“I believe I’m the fastest guy in college football,” said Killins. “In this offense, we expect to make big plays, but to set the record at UCF is a great accomplishment.”
His success set the tone for the entire offense. Having an X-factor like Killins keeps an opposing defense honest, and makes the entire unit highly dangerous.
“I think we’re the most dangerous when we can run the ball effectively,” said Milton. “When the playmakers have the ball.”
He has a fantastic point. Sure, UCF blew out FIU and put their stamp firmly on Maryland’s soil, but this was the scariest that the Knights have appeared all season long. 350 rushing yards, five touchdowns and a pair of field goals are enough to strike fear into every team left on UCF’s schedule. It just isn’t enough to look further down the road than next week, according to Frost.
“No, we aren’t going to look ahead,” said the head coach. “I think that’s the trap you fall into. No offense you guys, we’re not going to read any of your articles tomorrow. I don’t want these guys thinking they’re any good. Because really, we won three games and 3-0 doesn’t amount to anything. It doesn’t get you anywhere.”
Sure, 3-0 doesn’t physically get you anywhere. It might, however, get you ranked – whether the team is listening or not.