Milton leads unbeaten UCF over Auburn
The Associated Press
McKenzie Milton wanted to throw a blanket of 13 wins and no losses over the College Football Playoff.
After Milton and Central Florida capped a perfect season, the Mililani High School graduate suggested it was time to respect the Knights, even if they weren’t invited to the playoff.
Milton threw two touchdown passes and ran for 116 yards with another touchdown, leading No. 10 UCF to a 34-27 Peach Bowl win over No. 7 Auburn on Monday in Atlanta.
“I said on the podium you can go ahead and cancel the playoffs,” said Milton, named the game’s offensive MVP. “I’m not changing my mind.”
UCF (13-0) led 34-20 before having to stop a late Auburn comeback. Antwan Collier’s interception in the end zone with 24 seconds remaining clinched the win.
The UCF players launched a joyous postgame celebration, rolling around in confetti on the field while wearing T-shirts that read “Champions.”
The Knights won in their final game with coach Scott Frost, who stayed with the team through the bowl game after accepting an offer to become the new coach at Nebraska, his alma mater. Frost will bring most of his UCF assistants to Nebraska.
The Knights thought they deserved a higher ranking after winning the American Athletic Conference and leading the nation in scoring. They made a strong statement by beating Auburn (10-4).
Frost said “it wasn’t right” for UCF to not receive more consideration for the four-team playoff.
“They deserve more credit from the committee than they got,” he said.
Auburn was held to 90 yards rushing on 44 carries.
“That was probably the main stat that was disappointing for me,” Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said.
• OUTBACK BOWL: At Tampa, Fla., Jake Bentley threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns to help South Carolina overcome a 16-point second-half deficit to beat Michigan 26-19.
The sophomore tossed scoring passes of 21 yards to Bryan Edwards and 53 yards to Shi Smith, the latter giving the Gamecocks (9-4) a 23-19 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Michigan (8-5) finished with its first three-game losing streak under coach Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines turned the ball over five times, including an end zone interception that denied them an opportunity to regain the lead with just under eight minutes to go.
The loss also cost the Big Ten a sweep of bowl games involving conference members. The league entered 7-0, looking to go unbeaten in postseason play for the first time since 1998 when it went 5-0.
• CITRUS BOWL: At Orlando, Fla., Myles Boykin scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass with 1:28 remaining, and No. 14 Notre Dame got its first win in a New Year’s Day bowl since 1994 with a 21-17 win over No. 16 LSU.
Three plays after Jack Gonsoulin’s 17-yard field goal gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead with 2:03 remaining, Boykin caught a pass from Ian Book with his right hand at the LSU 33, managed to elude corner Donte Jackson and then broke a tackle attempt by John Battle up the right sideline for the game-winning score.
Boykin had three receptions for 102 yards and was named the game’s MVP. Book, who entered the game in the second quarter, was 14-of-19 for 164 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for the Fighting Irish (10-3).
Danny Etling was 19-of-33 for 229 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Derrius Guice for LSU (9-4). Guice had 98 yards on 21 carries.