EditorsNote: Tweaks to 6th, 7th grafs with time reference corrections
Quarterback McKenzie Milton marked his return by passing for three touchdowns and 312 yards, and senior running back Greg McRae posted his first career 100-yard rushing game to lead No. 12 UCF to a 52-40 victory over Temple in matchup of American Athletic Conference East leaders Thursday night in Orlando.
McRae rushed for 161 of his 188 game total in the second half as the Knights (8-0, 5-0 AAC) also found their footing on defense in the final two periods to run the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 games.
Quarterback Anthony Russo passed for a season-high 444 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Ryquell Armstead overcame a balky ankle to rush for 142 yards in sparking the Owls (5-4, 4-1 AAC) to a school single-game record 670 yards in total offense in the loss.
Penalties were crucial against the Owls. They were flagged 14 times for 149 yards with defensive violations aiding two UCF scoring drives.
Milton, who missed UCF’s previous outing with an ankle injury, completed only 17 of his 33 attempts, but was 3-of-4 passing in a 75-yard scoring drive that put the Knights up 49-40 with under nine minutes left.
The first half was an offensive onslaught. The two teams combined for 62 points and 808 yards of total offense in the first half that ended with the Owls up 34-28 thanks to a quick answer to UCF’s fourth touchdown with 1:43 left in the second quarter.
The Owls took advantage of a short kickoff and went 64 yards in just 1:25 with Russo passing 15 yards to wide receiver Ventell Bryant for the score with just 18 seconds remaining in the half.
The pace slowed in the third quarter when the Owls had a couple of time-consuming drives, neither of which ended in any points.
The Knights got the only touchdowns of the quarter on McCrae’s 32-yard run and Milton’s 19-yard completion to Michael Colubiale to take a 42-34 lead into the final 15 minutes.
—Field Level Media