The nation’s current longest winning streak at 19 games belonged to the University of Central Florida and the Knights were looking to extend that to 20 when they traveled on the road to face East Carolina Saturday night. What wasn’t expected whatsoever was that they would pull off such a feat without its starting quarterback, McKenzie Milton.

Milton, who has a nagging shoulder and ankle injury, didn’t get the starting nod against the Pirates and instead watched backup Darriel Mack Jr. take the helm. In his first start, Mack Jr. would do just fine and threw for 69 yards and rushed for another 120 and led the Knights to a dominant 37-10 victory over the Pirates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

With the victory, UCF (7-0) extends the country’s longest winning streak to 20 games and will carry its undefeated record into a bye week. The next time the Knights will see the field is on Nov. 1st when they take on Temple.

Despite the victory, much of the talk surrounding the game was around Milton’s absence on the field, as reports swirled throughout about UCF head coach Josh Heupel going with Mack Jr. over Milton for other reasons rather than the injury bug. Nonetheless, UCF can heal up during the bye week and Milton should be good to go when the Knights take the field again in 12 days.

Everything wasn’t peachy early on against East Carolina, as the Pirates looked to take advantage with Milton on the bench. The Pirates (2-5) took a 3-0 lead in the opening quarter and held onto to that up until a pair of Matthew Wright field goals in the second quarter out the Knights ahead for good.

UCF running back Greg McCrae had a huge day for the Knights, rushing for 99 yards on just five carries and had a stellar average of 19.8 yards per touch.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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