The UCF Knights completed the undefeated season on New Year’s Day by defeating SEC blueblood Auburn 34-27 in the Peach Bowl. And though Scott Frost will be heading to Nebraska to help them become a powerhouse program once again, he doesn’t leave the Knights empty-handed.
Quarterback McKenzie Milton will be returning for his junior season and after his performance Monday, Milton should be considered as a dark horse Heisman candidate for 2018 already after the season he had and the departures of other big names.
Milton was the AAC offensive player of the year and finished the season with the 7th most passing yards with 4,037 and 37 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Milton played big on that big stage throwing for 242 yards 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He also ran for 116 yards and another score being named the MVP of the Peach Bowl. In the three closing games that the Knights got to play on national prime time TV to end the season, Milton threw for 1,109 yards and 11 touchdowns in wins over USF, Memphis and Auburn.
Just because Frost and his offense will be leaving Orlando, doesn’t guarantee the numbers will.
New UCF Coach Josh Heupel had QB Drew Lock finish 10th in passing yards with 3,964 and a new SEC record 44 touchdowns at Missouri while Heupel was the offensive coordinator.
The Knights will also be returning a bulk of their play-makers on offense including Adrian Killins Jr., Tre’Quan Smith, and Dredrick Snelson and several others.
With many of the top quarterbacks like 2017 Heisman Winner Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph, that were in front of Milton heading for the NFL, it’s time he starts getting some more recognition for his play.
USF QB Quinton Flowers was receiving dark horse noise after the year the Bulls had in 2015, but his 2016 didn’t end undefeated nor a “New Year’s Six” bowl win. Though Milton is not the runner Flowers was, he can still spin it with the best of the quarterbacks in the college ranks.
Milton should be getting talked about with Bryce Love, (if he returns) Jalen Hurts, Jordan Taylor, and if he returns, Sam Darnold.
UCF also won’t be sneaking up on anyone next season. So, the lights will be on every game for Milton and the Knights.
He will have to come out and replicate those numbers and most likely top them for a player from the “Group of Five” teams to bring home a Heisman winner.
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