DALLAS (AP) — McKenzie Milton threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, Adrian Killins Jr. rushed for two more touchdowns and No. 15 UCF stayed undefeated with a 31-24 victory over SMU on Saturday night.
The Knights (8-0, 5-0 AAC, No. 18 CFP) remained the only undefeated team in the Group of Five, keeping them on track to play in a major New Year’s Day bowl game if they can win out.
SMU’s best opportunity at an upset fizzled with 5:10 remaining when wideout Trey Quinn dropped a pass on fourth-and-3 that would have given the Mustangs (6-3, 3-2) a first down deep in UCF territory.
The game wasn’t quite the shootout that was expected. UCF entered the weekend averaging 51 points, the most in the nation. SMU was averaging 41.5 points.
Still, there were plenty of explosive plays throughout. Two of UCF’s scoring drives lasted three plays or less but covered at least 75 yards.
Killins scored on runs of 64 yards and 34 yards for UCF, splitting defenders and shedding would-be tacklers along the way. And early in the second quarter, Milton found wide receiver Gabriel Davis down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown strike.
SMU scored on its first offensive play from scrimmage when Ben Hicks connected with James Proche for an 86-yard touchdown player. The sophomore receiver made five defenders miss on the catch-and-run, following a couple blockers down the sideline to the end zone.
Offensive miscues proved costly for both teams. The Mustangs saw a 56-yard drive in the first half end a yard short when running back Ke’Mon Freeman fumbled into the end zone for a touchback.
Milton, who had thrown just three interceptions entering the game, threw two against SMU. One of them was returned by SMU defensive back Jordan Wyatt 36 yards for a touchdown.
UCF: Despite some uncharacteristic interceptions from Milton, the Knights made enough big plays to stay undefeated and remain in line for a possible New Year’s Day bowl bid.
SMU: Trey Quinn, who entered the game leading the nation with 9.9 catches per game, didn’t have a big night — and the Mustangs didn’t find points as easy to come by. Still, SMU is bowl eligible in Chad Morris’ third season as coach.
UCF: The Knights have UConn at home next week and then close out the regular season with a trip to Temple and home against South Florida.
SMU: The Mustangs travel to Navy and Memphis before closing at home against Tulane.