Defensive end Jamiyus Pittman heard his number called from the sideline and couldn’t believe it. Normally the blocking back in the Knights’ goal-line offense, Pittman was about to have his hands tested with points on the line.
“We’re really calling this in a game?” Pittman recalled thinking.
Pittman scooted into the end zone uncovered and quarterback McKenzie Milton found the 6-foot, 311-pounder for a relatively easy four-yard TD pass midway through the first quarter. Pretty much whatever the 22nd-ranked Knights tried offensively worked as they raced to a 63-21 win against overmatched East Carolina on Saturday night.
UCF scored on offense, defense and special teams in improving to 5-0 overall for the first time in the school’s Division I era while also moving to 3-0 in American Athletic Conference play. The Knights’ offense had its way with one of the worst defenses in the FBS in a game in which they scored 63 points for the first time since 2001 against Liberty.
“Our team is playing together and caring about each other, that’s so great to see,” said UCF coach Scott Frost, whose Knights have scored 50 points in back-to-back games for the first time since 1997. “When somebody scores, everybody is happy for them and that don’t exist on every team.”
With Milton leading the charge, the Knights piled up 600 yards of offense. It was third straight game UCF has eclipsed 500 yards of total offense, which hadn’t happened since 1998.
The yards don’t tell the whole story of the Knights’ dominance over East Carolina (1-6, 1-3). UCF ran 72 plays from scrimmage and converted 33 first downs to keep the Pirates on their heels all night.
“It makes it a little easier on us as play callers because the last two weeks we haven’t gotten to our third down section very much,” Frost said. “That’s just a sign of our guys executing really well and putting us in good situations and we’ve got some playmakers who can get to the sticks and get first downs.”
Milton, who has been on fire in his second season as the starter, completed an efficient 21 of 27 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns, while also running for another score.
The Knights had scored on 10 straight possessions since last week’s Cincinnati game before being stopped on third-and-13 in the first quarter. Milton has four games with multiple touchdowns this season after having just three all of last year when he started as a true freshman.
“It’s just a combination of a lot of things,” Milton said. “We’re playing some good ball right now.”
East Carolina: The Pirates have some playmakers, but not enough to have sustained success against quality teams. Wide receiver Davon Grayson gave the Knights secondary problems, finishing with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. Running back Darius Pinnix had the best run from scrimmage, a tackle-breaking 57-yard scamper in the first quarter.
UCF: The Knights looked strong in all phases, but they need to be more disciplined against Navy next week. The defense gave up some big plays, and the offense lost a fumble near the goal line in the second half.
East Carolina: The Pirates take a break from American Athletic Conference play to host BYU next Saturday night.
UCF: The Knights travel to take on No. 25 Navy next Saturday.