UCF Knights Homecoming Ends In Heartbreak, Temple Steals Win In Final Seconds 26-25

By  //  October 16, 2016


ABOVE VIDEO: Phillip Walker threw an 8-yard TD pass to Keith Kirkwood with one second left and Temple stunned UCF with a 26-25 comeback victory on Saturday night.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Homecoming ended in heartbreak for UCF Saturday night at Bright House Networks Stadium.

After jumping out to a 25-7 lead in the first half, the Knights saw Temple registered 19 unanswered points to take a 26-25 victory.

The Owls scored with one second left in the game on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Phillip Walker to Keith Kirkwood. The pass capped a four-play, 70-yard drive in just 31 seconds.

The UCF defense turned Temple away twice late in the fourth quarter, stopping the Owls on fourth down both times deep in Knights’ territory. But the Black and Gold couldn’t quite hold on.

“I’m sick to my stomach, we let one get away…those things can’t happen,” UCF head coach Scott Frost said. “We’ve all got to do a better job finishing. It’s a learning process for all of us and those are all lessons you don’t want to learn. I feel terrible for the kids but I’ll always be proud of them.”

True freshman quarterback McKenzie Milton returned to the lineup and started the fireworks early. He hit Tre’Quan Smith with a 55-yard touchdown pass on the opening possession of the game. A Nick Patti two-point conversion pass to Aaron Cochran put the Knights up, 8-0.

Temple answered with a 28-yard Walker screen pass to Jahad Thomas that left Temple down 8-7 after the PAT. Matthew Wright added a 42-yard field goal late in the first quarter to make it 11-7 after the first 15 minutes.

Milton was responsible for two quick touchdowns – on drives of 94 and 32 seconds – at the beginning of the second quarter. He tossed his second TD pass of the game — this time to Adrian Killins – with 13:45 left in the first half. Milton put another touchdown on the board 1:11 later.

ABOVE VIDEO: Homecoming was a huge success on Saturday, despite the 26-25 loss.

This time he did it with his legs, going untouched around the left end for a 63-yard sprint to paydirt to make it, 25-7.
But the Knights were unable muster any more points against a tough Temple defense. UCF managed just 67 yards of offense after taking the 18-point lead.

“Once we had 25 points, we had the ball on their side of the 50 I don’t know four, five more times and either penalties or dumb plays took us out of there,” Frost said.

“Defensively, I’m not sure they would’ve scored (in the) first half without a kick out of bounds and unsportsmanlike conduct on us and jumping off sides on their hard count. Listen, we’ve got to coach them better to make sure those kind of things don’t happen.”

Thomas scored 2:35 left in the first half on a seven-yard run to cap a nine-play, 71-yard drive. That TD pulled the Owls within 11 at halftime, 25-14.

Temple held the ball for more than 10 minutes in the third quarter and put up a pair of field goals, pulling within five and setting up the fourth quarter that saw no scoring other than Temple’s game-winning TD.

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Mac’s Back
McKenzie Milton was 13-of-22 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns in his return to the starting lineup.
He accounted for 78 positive rushing yards, but seven sacks left him with just a net of nine yards.
Milton’s 63-yard touchdown run in the first half was the second-longest rush by a quarterback in UCF history. Daunte Culpepper had a 75-yard jaunt in 1997 for the record.

Press on Pittman
Junior defensive lineman Jamiyus Pittman recorded 2.5 tackles for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery in the contest.
He tallied a total of eight stops.
Pittman’s fumble recovery with 1:41 remaining in the game nearly sealed the victory for UCF.

Miscellaneous Minutiae
The Knights were held under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season. Much of that was due to losing 69 yards on seven Temple sacks.
The Knights got after the quarterback a bit in this contest, as well. UCF had five sacks for the fourth-straight game.
Temple controlled the clock, holding the ball for 37:18. UCF had it for 22:42.


QB McKenzie Milton’s burst for a 63-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, which goes down as the second-longest run from scrimmage by a UCF quarterback. Daunte Culpepper holds the school record on a 75-yard scamper for a touchdown on Oct. 4, 1997.

WR Tre’Quan Smith snagged a career-long catch of 55 yards for a touchdown on the Knights’ opening drive.

Smith now has three touchdown receptions on the season and seven for his career.

The sophomore tallied over 100 receiving yards for the second time this season and the fifth time in his career.

RB Adrian Killins caught his first-career touchdown pass early in the second quarter.

RB Jawon Hamilton broke through the line midway through the first quarter for a career-long rush of 32 yards.

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S T.J. Mutcherson grabbed his second interception of the season early in the second quarter, making it back-to-back games for the graduate senior.

Mutcherson also matched a career-high in tackles for a game with 10.

LB Shaquem Griffin tallied his team-leading sixth sack of the season late in the third quarter.

LB Pat Jasinski recorded the first solo sack of his career in the first half.

DL Trysten Hill grabbed his first career sack late in the fourth to end a Temple drive.

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QB Nick Patti converted a two-point conversion attempt, completing a pass to Aaron Cochran following an opening drive score.

UCF is 2-for-4 on two-point conversions this season with Patti throwing the ball on all four attempts.

K Matthew Wright remained perfect on point after attempts, connecting on two attempts. He is now 38-38 in his career.

WR Dredrick Snelson recorded his first career kickoff return to the start the game with a 22-yard return.


The Knights hit the road again next Saturday for a noon ET matchup against UConn. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNews.