Knights suffer double overtime loss to Maryland in Milton’s first start

Produced by Bryce Brimhall

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Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

The Knights lost in double overtime after Maryland scored on a 24-yard touchdown run.

ORLANDO — McKenzie Milton made an impression in his first collegiate start under center as he threw for 260 yards and had three touchdowns but it wasn’t enough to pull the UCF Knights from a 30-24 double overtime loss to the Maryland Terrapins Saturday night at Bright House Networks Stadium.

Milton made a costly mistake on the Knights drive in the second overtime, as the freshman fumbled on third down while trying to find the tight end. The fumble resulted in UCF coming away with no points, Maryland then used a 24-yard rush from backup quarterback Tyrell Pigrome to give the Knights their second consecutive loss of the season.

UCF head coach Scott Frost started Milton over injured starter Justin Holman and senior Nick Patti, and the freshman put up productive numbers despite turning the ball over twice. The freshman out of Hawaii finished the game going 19-32 passing and had two passing touchdowns to go with a rushing score.

“Those guys had my back, full support,” said Milton of how his fellow quarterbacks helped him. “Gave me advice when I came to the sideline, what coverages they saw, what they thought might be open. A couple mistakes I made they helped me with that so they’ve been fully supportive all week.”

Tre’Quan Smith was Milton’s go-to receiver as he hit the sophomore eight times for 114 yards and a touchdown in the first overtime period. Dontravious Wilson helped put UCF on the scoreboard early with a 4-yard touchdown catch late in the opening quarter, marking Milton’s first touchdown as a Knight.

UCF finished the game with 455 yards including 195 rushing, but lost the turnover battle 4-0 to a Maryland squad that has yet to give the ball up through three games.

“Our offensive line did an excellent job picking them up, our running backs did a great job running the ball,” said Milton following the game. “But I think as a whole I just got to cut down on the turnovers period.”

Maryland took a 10-7 lead before Milton scored the first rushing touchdown of his career with a 7-yard run to put UCF up 14-10. The Terps responded on the following drive with a 16-yard rushing touchdown by Kenneth Goins to retake a 17-14 lead.

Matthew Wright tied the game at 17-17 early in the fourth quarter. The game would remain tied through the end of regulation, but Maryland did take a shot at the end zone as time expired but had the pass broken up by the UCF defense.

UCF’s defense was in the backfield all game as they sacked Maryland quarterback Perry Hills five times throughout the game, including three in the second quarter.

“I’m broken hearted for the guys because they deserved to win tonight.” said Frost following the game.

With the loss the Knights now fall to 1-2 for the season but coaches and players alike are confident this is a different team from a year ago and the overtime loss will not affect them moving forward.

“The first thing you have to do is learn how to win close games,” said Frost about the improvements of his team despite the loss. “You can’t be the team that makes the mistake in a close game, you have to be the team that executes. Tonight we were almost there but we made the last mistake, they didn’t.”

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All photos by Adrian Hernandez / Valencia Voice