No. 9 UCF survived the loss of quarterback McKenzie Milton in the first half and parlayed its defense and running game into a 38-10 victory over South Florida in an American Athletic Conference matchup in Tampa on Friday afternoon.
Sophomore Greg McCrae ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the Knights (11-0, 8-0 AAC) rushed for a season-high 391 yards in running their winning streak to 24 games.
McRae’s third touchdown on a 31-yard sprint with 9:43 remaining put the Knights over 30 points for a 24th consecutive game.
Redshirt freshman Darriel Mack Jr. was only 5-of-14 passing for 81 yards after Milton left, but Mack had a big 47-yard completion to Dredrick Snelson that keyed a fourth-quarter scoring drive.
There was no comment on Milton’s status for the AAC Championship Game on Dec. 1 when the Knights host Memphis.
The Bulls (7-5, 3-5 AAC) were without injured starting quarterback Blake Barnett, but they got a big performance from freshman running back Johnny Ford, who rushed for 120 yards and scored on a 34-yard reception. The Bulls rushed for 196 yards, but the Knights made the key stops when they needed them.
Sophomore Chris Oladokun (7-of-12 passing for 77 yards) and junior Brett Kean (8-of-17, 36 yards) shared quarterback duties in place of Barnett for the Bulls.
Ford’s touchdown reception pulled the Bulls to within 17-10 late in the third quarter, but the Knights quickly responded with a four-play, 65-yard drive capped by McRae’s second touchdown from 39 yard out to restore their lead to two touchdowns entering the final period.
After Milton went out at the 11:17 mark of the second quarter, Matthew Wright kicked a 42-yard field goal, and six minutes later McRae burst 40 yards up the middle for a touchdown for his first touchdown and a 17-0 UCF lead.
But Ford got South Florida moving, rushing for 67 of his 81 first-half yards on the ensuing series, and the Bulls cashed in on Cody Weiss’ 25-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the first half.
—Field Level Media