UCF Knights Celebrate Peach Bowl Victory After Taking Down SEC Runner-Up Auburn 34-27
By Ian MacDougall, UCF Knights // January 2, 2018
ABOVE VIDEO: Highlights from the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl that saw No. 12 UCF take down No. 7 Auburn and remain the only undefeated team in the nation for the 2017 season.
ORLANDO, FLORIDA (UCF Knights) – Behind 21 unanswered points in the second half, the UCF football team capped a perfect 13-0 season with a 34-27 win over No. 7 Auburn in the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Down seven late in the third quarter, the No. 12 Knights stormed back into the game. Quarterback McKenzie Milton hit Otis Anderson on a screen pass that the freshman took to the end zone to tie the game with 1:30 to play in the third. Following a Tigers punt, the Knights offense drove back into Auburn territory.
Milton danced around a few would-be tacklers, stepped up in the pocket and found a cutting Dredrick Snelson from eight yards out to give the Knights a 27-20 lead.
Auburn took over at their own 20-yard line with 6:58 left to play and a chance to even the score. Tigers quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw a pass that was intended for a cutting receiver for a short gain, but senior Chequan Burkett stepped in front to intercept the pass.
The native of Montgomery, Ala., had no one in front of him and sprinted 45 yards to the end zone for the game-winning score.
Burkett, along with Shaquem Griffin and the UCF defense, gave the Tigers all they could handle. UCF racked up a season-high six sacks and 11 tackles for loss. UCF recorded a pair of takeaways. In addition to Burkett’s pick-six, A.J. Wooten set up the Knights’ first touchdown in the second quarter. The redshirt junior jarred the ball loose from Stidham, and it bounced into the hands of Tre Neal, which later led to an 18-yard scoring run for Milton.
ABOVE VIDEO: 2018 Peach Bowl – UCF Fans of the Game
• Milton was 16-of-35 for 242 and a pair of passing touchdowns and added a score on the ground, earning Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Offensive MVP honors.
• After slow start in the first half, Milton was nearly unstoppable in the second half. He completed 13 of 18 passes for 212 yards.
• The sophomore led the team in rushing with a career-high 116 yards for 8.9 yards per carry.
Milton now holds the UCF record for single-season rushing yards by a quarterback. The previous record was 566, set by Jeff Godfrey in 2010. Milton finished the season with 613.
• Senior Shaquem Griffin saved his best for his final game for the Knights and received the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Defensive MVP Award.
• The redshirt senior tallied a career-high in tackles and tackles for loss with 12 and 3.5, respectively.
• He also added 1.5 sacks.
• Griffin finished the season with the team lead in tackles for loss with 13.5 and sacks with seven.
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