UCF Unveils Its Next Slinging Sensation in AAC Title Triumph
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So much for any perception that the Golden Knights are a one-trick pony.
Despite the fact that UCF's star QB McKenzie Milton went down to a horrendous leg injury in their last regular-season game against South Florida, dudes just proved their current 25-game winning streak is a team effort.
Milton's understudy, redshirt freshman Darriel Mack Jr, showed an amazing ability to learn on the job.
What's more, Mack had to do it in the American Athletic Conference championship game against a Memphis squad ready for revenge.
The Tigers couldn't hold a 13-point halftime lead when they met on Sat 13 Oct and got pipped at the whistle, 31-30.
For them, this one was a déjà vu experience, only more bitter.
It may have taken Mack a half to get up to speed, but once he did, UCF put together a second-half comeback from 17 points down to clinch the title, 56-41.
Mack erased all doubt the Knights were in good hands -- for this one and the next few seasons -- while in the course of putting up serious numbers:
UCF backup QB Darriel Mack Jr. has tied the program record with 4 Rush TD in a game. Mack Jr. is only the 2nd FBS player with 2 Pass TD and 4 Rush TD in a game over the last 5 seasons, joining Nick Fitzgerald. pic.twitter.com/IlEtOSKRmw— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 2, 2018
Toss in sophomore RB Greg McCrae's 24-carry, 206-yard workload -- which says a lot about the o-line, too -- and before a home crowd donning leis in honor of Milton, this UCF wound up firing on all cylinders:
Dudes woulda fit right into their wide-open spaces. But it was not to be.
Neither is a slightest glimmer of consideration for an Anointed Four invitation because the CFP says UCF is, you know, Other Five material.
This is a big-time program developing before our very eyes:
- It's got a young core of players,
- Coach Josh Heupel has been there and done that as a player,
- He's already shown an ability to keep the Knights focused when things don't go their way,
- They're expanding facilities to rival the majority of Power Fivers, and
- Donors are stepping up.
UCF's winning streak's gonna come to a halt someday, but they've now had a coaching change and a QB change and kept the same level of play.
These dudes look like they're on the scene to stay. Maybe someday soon, they'll get more respect for it.