2017 UCF Knights football team
|2017 UCF Knights football|
UCF celebrates their victory over Memphis in the AAC Championship Game.
National champion (Colley)
American Athletic Conference champion
AAC East Division champion
Peach Bowl champion
|Conference||American Athletic Conference|
|2017 record||13–0 (8–0 The American)|
|Head coach||Scott Frost (2nd season)|
|Offensive coordinator||Troy Walters (2nd season)|
|Defensive coordinator||Erik Chinander (2nd season)|
|Home stadium||Spectrum Stadium|
|2017 American Athletic Conference football standings|
|No. 6 UCF xy$||8||–||0||13||–||0|
|No. 21 South Florida||6||–||2||10||–||2|
|No. 25 Memphis xy||7||–||1||10||–||3|
|Championship: UCF 62, Memphis 55|
As of January 9, 2018; Rankings from AP Poll.
The 2017 UCF Knights football team represented the University of Central Florida in the 2017 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Knights played their home games at the newly renamed Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida, and competed in the East Division of the American Athletic Conference. They were led by second year head coach Scott Frost.
The Knights finished the regular season 12–0, the football program's first ever undefeated regular season, second 12-win season, and won the 2017 American Conference Championship. The Knights season culminated in a 2018 Peach Bowl win over Auburn. The effort came just two years after an 0–12 winless season (2015). UCF became the first team in the history of NCAA Division I FBS to improve from a winless regular season to an undefeated regular season in only two years.
Despite being the only undefeated team in FBS, UCF did not receive a spot in the College Football Playoff. Frost criticized the College Football Playoff committee, saying that the Knights "deserve[d] more credit from the committee than what they got." Frost believed that the committee deliberately ranked the Knights low enough on a weekly basis that they had no realistic chance of finishing in the top four. The Knights proclaimed themselves national champions at the end of the season. Florida lawmakers proposed passing a resolution declaring UCF the national champions, which Florida Governor Rick Scott proclaimed officially on January 8, 2018. On January 9, UCF was ranked No. 1 by the Colley Matrix, a mathematically based power rating developed by Wes Colley and listed as a NCAA-recognized National Polls Ranking for major selectors. This ranking was later recognized by the NCAA as a valid national championship claim, alongside Alabama's.
- 1 Preseason
- 2 Schedule
- 3 Season summary
- 4 Game summaries
- 5 Aftermath
- 6 Rankings
- 7 Statistics
- 8 Awards and milestones
- 8.1 American Athletic Conference honors
- 8.2 School records
- 8.3 National awards and honors
- 9 Players in the 2018 NFL Draft
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 External links
|2017 UCF Knights Football|
Head Coach: Scott Frost Assoc. HC/LBs/Special Teams: Jovan Dewitt Defensive Coordinator: Erik Chinander Offensive Coordinator/WR: Troy Walters Offensive Line: Greg Austin TEs/Recruiting Coordinator: Sean Beckton Defensive Line: Mike Dawson Defensive Backs: Travis Fisher Running Backs: Ryan Held Quarterbacks: Mario Verduzco Chief of Staff/Dir. of Ops: Gerrod Lambrecht Asst. Director of Ops: Trent Mossbrucker Dir. of Player Development: Horace Raymond Dir. of Player Personnel: Sean Dillon Ast. Dir. of Player Personnel: Ryan Callaghan Dir. of High School Relations: Mike Cassano Quality Control Administrator: Barrett Rudd Quality Control Administrator: Zach Crespo Offensive Analyst: Frank Verducci Offensive Graduate Assistant: Dustin Haines Defensive Graduate Assistant: Jack Cooper Offensive Graduate Assistant: Drew Davis Dir. of Sports Performance: Zach Duval Senior Administrative Assistant: Megan Taylor Director of Equipment Operations: Rich Worner
The 2017 UCF Spring game was held Saturday April 22 at Spectrum Stadium. The team was split into two squads. Team UCFast consisted mostly of the first team offense and defense, and UCFierce was made up of second team players.
|April 22||6:30 pm||Team UCFierce vs. Team UCFast||Spectrum Stadium • Orlando, FL||Team UCFierce 35–28|
UCF announced its 2017 football schedule on February 9, 2017. The 2017 schedule originally consisted of seven home and five away games in the regular season. The Knights were set to host conference foes UConn, East Carolina, Memphis, and South Florida and were to travel to Cincinnati, Navy, SMU, and Temple.
The Knights also hosted one of their two non-conference opponents, FIU from Conference USA, and traveled to Maryland from the Big Ten. UCF was scheduled to host games against Georgia Tech from the ACC, and Maine from the Colonial Athletic Association, before Hurricane Irma caused the Georgia Tech game to be canceled and the Memphis home game to be rescheduled over the Maine game. On September 21, 2017, UCF added a home game against the FCS Austin Peay Governors for October 28.
|August 31||6:00 p.m.||FIU*||CBSSN||W 61–17||38,063|
|September 23||3:00 p.m.||at Maryland*||FS1||W 38–10||33,280|
|September 30[b]||7:00 p.m.||Memphis||ESPN2||W 40–13||34,022|
|October 7||8:00 p.m.||at Cincinnati||No. 25||ESPNU||W 51–23[d]||27,253|
|October 14||7:15 p.m.||East Carolina||No. 22||CBSSN||W 63–21||40,287|
|October 21||3:30 p.m.||at Navy||No. 20||CBSSN||W 31–21||35,277|
|October 28[e]||5:00 p.m.||Austin Peay*||No. 18||ESPN3||W 73–33||27,606|
|November 4||7:15 p.m.||at SMU||No. 15||ESPN2||W 31–24||24,445|
|November 11||12:00 p.m.||UConn||No. 14||ESPNU||W 49–24||29,384|
|November 18||12:00 p.m.||at Temple||No. 14||ESPNU||W 45–19||25,877|
|November 24||3:30 p.m.||No. 22 South Florida||No. 13||ABC||W 49–42||47,129|
|December 2||12:00 p.m.||No. 16 Memphis||No. 12||ABC||W 62–55 2OT||41,433|
|January 1, 2018||12:30 p.m.||vs. No. 7 Auburn*||No. 10||ESPN||W 34–27||71,109|
- Schedule Source:
In just his second season as head coach, and just two years removed from the winless 2015 campaign, head coach Scott Frost aimed to continue the UCF football teams's turnaround. Frost had brought the team six wins in 2016, making them bowl-eligible. Going into 2017, the team looked to build on their momentum.
The Knights opened their season with a lopsided victory against FIU; however, days later, the season was temporarily put on hiatus due to Hurricane Irma. Two games were cancelled, and one was able to be rescheduled. After a 22-day layoff, the Knights had an impressive win at Maryland, leading to a much-anticipated intra-conference meeting against 3–0 Memphis. The Knights soundly beat the Memphis Tigers, establishing themselves as the new front-runner in the AAC. The Knights entered both the AP and Coaches Polls, and later in October, they were also ranked in the CFP rankings.
Statistically, the Knights were the top scoring team in the nation (48.2 points per game), and finished 5th in yards per game (530). With blowout wins against Cincinnati, East Carolina, and Austin Peay, along with closer, pivotal wins against Navy and SMU, the Knights were 10–0 entering the final game of the regular season. The Knights hosted rival South Florida on Black Friday to decide the AAC East Division crown. In a shootout game described by some observers as one of the best games of the college football season, the Knights won the game 49–42.
The Knights finished the regular season 11–0, the program's first ever undefeated regular season. With the win, UCF would host the AAC Championship game. The school set an NCAA mark by becoming the first team to go from a winless regular season (2015) to an undefeated regular season in only two years. The team set school records for most consecutive games won, most points in a single game, and saw many players and coaches receive individual superlative awards.
In the latter weeks of the regular season, fueled by the team's success on the field, media reports began surfacing about the possibility of head coach Scott Frost departing UCF for another school. Frost, the former national championship winning quarterback at Nebraska, had expressed personal interest in the Cornhuskers head coaching job, and it incidentally became available in November. Frost was also rumored for some of the many higher-profile vacancies, including Florida, Tennessee, and others. Nebraska athletic officials actively targeted Frost in their coaching search, and after Frost shot down rumors of going to Florida, it became clear Frost's future would be either at Nebraska, or continuing at UCF.
Despite the ongoing coaching rumors, UCF went on to win the AAC Championship game in dramatic fashion. The game was a rematch against Memphis, but this time the game was a shootout. The Knights prevailed 62–55 in double overtime. The win cemented UCF as the top Group of Five school in the nation, clinching them an automatic berth in a New Year's Six bowl game. Despite their unblemished 12–0 record up to that point, the Knights were not named to the College Football Playoff top four, and effectively could not play for the CFP National Championship. The Knights were paired against Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on New Year's Day.
A day after winning the AAC, head coach Scott Frost was formally introduced as the new head coach of Nebraska, as had been widely speculated. UCF immediately named offensive coordinator Troy Walters as the interim head coach. Frost would be taking nearly his entire staff with him to Nebraska, potentially leaving UCF without a coaching staff for the bowl season. The newly-introduced NCAA early signing period fueled Nebraska's urgency of hiring Frost, as school officials were anxious for Frost to begin recruiting immediately. Meanwhile, UCF named Josh Heupel their new head coach, but stopped short of committing Heupel to coaching in the bowl. After several days of uncertainty, and mild controversy, an agreement was reached such that Frost and his staff would return to UCF to coach the bowl game. Despite the difficulty of juggling two teams at once, Frost was committed to coaching UCF in the Peach Bowl, and called finishing out the UCF job as the 'right thing to do.'
The Knights upset the Auburn Tigers in the Peach Bowl 34–27, completing a perfect 13–0 season. In the aftermath, UCF athletic director Danny White created a stir when he publicly proclaimed UCF the national champions, despite the CFP championship game still being one week away. Several other outlets followed suit, including the Orlando Sentinel, WYGM, Prince George Journal, and the NCAA-recognized Colley Matrix. Other national media outlets debated the issue over the next several days. UCF received four first place votes in the final AP Poll, and placed 6th overall. The Knights were honored with a parade at Walt Disney World, a block party in downtown Orlando at Church Street Station, and were presented with the Key to the City by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a resolution officially recognizing the Knights as national champions on January 8, and later in the month, the Knights were honored at the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl.
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
The Knights opened the season on Thursday night against FIU. It was the start of the second season for head coach Scott Frost at UCF, as well as the first game for FIU under head coach Butch Davis. The Knights routed the Panthers, as the offense racked up 587 yards, and quarterback McKenzie Milton threw for 360 yards and four touchdown passes (22 yards, 50 yards, 3 yards, 13 yards, respectively). There were four rushing touchdowns, including a 51-yard run by Napoleon Maxwell in the third quarter. The UCF defense forced three fumbles, an interception, a safety, and four 3-and-outs by the Panthers offense.
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
After a 22-day layoff due to Hurricane Irma, UCF was back on the field in Week 4. With the teams coming into the matchup ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in scoring (61 points for UCF and 57 points for Maryland) and having gone to double overtime in their meeting last year, the game was expected to be close. After a slow start for both teams, Maryland's backup quarterback, Kasim Hill, was injured and taken off the field in the first quarter. While the Terrapins were able to score the opening field goal at the end of that drive, they could not contain the Knights offense much longer, as the offense combined for 428 total yards. Meanwhile, the Knights defense overpowered the Terrapins on offense, keeping the Terrapins to 42 rushing yards, while the Knights picked off third string quarterback Max Bortenschlager twice, returning one for a touchdown.
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
After having their scheduled game on September 10 cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, the two schools arranged to reschedule their game for September 30. It was the conference opener for both teams. Both UCF and Memphis came into the matchup undefeated, with Memphis winning three previous games and UCF winning their two previous games. After a slow start to the game, the Knights ended up with 603 total yards and one turnover, versus Memphis' 396 total yards and four turnovers. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton threw for 253 yards and three touchdown passes, while running back Adrian Killins Jr. scored two rushing touchdowns. Killins set a UCF record with a 96-yard touchdown run, the longest rushing touchdown in school history. After the game, UCF entered both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll at No. 25.
|No. 25 Knights||20||17||14||0||51|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
UCF opened the game with two quick touchdowns, with both possessions totaling one minute and 32 seconds of game time, while holding Cincinnati to one touchdown in their first two possession. While the Knights defense let the Bearcats score more points than any of the Knights previous opponents, they also recorded one interception, a blocked PAT and allowed only 391 yards. Meanwhile, the Bearcats defense could not stop the Knights offense, which scored seven touchdowns and set up one field goal over the Knights' eight possessions. The game was stopped with four seconds left in the third quarter due to lightning in the area. Soon after the delay passed the one hour mark, the American Athletic Conference cancelled the rest of the game.
|No. 22 Knights||21||21||7||14||63|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
Entering the game ranked number one in scoring offense in the nation while facing the worst scoring defense in the nation, the Knights were 33.5 point favorites. The Knights ended up scoring nine touchdowns, including one interception returned for a touchdown and one punt return returned for a touchdown. The 63 points the Knights scored were the most since 2001, when they beat Liberty University 63–0. The Knights also put up 603 yards of offense, making it the first time since 1998 that UCF has put up more than 500 yards of offense in three straight games. With the win, the Knights improved to 5–0 for the first time in program history since moving up to D-1 football, and the first time since 1988.
|No. 20 Knights||7||7||10||7||31|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
Navy welcomed the Knights to Annapolis following the Midshipmen's first loss of the season, 30–27 at Memphis, while riding a 17-game home win streak. Prior to the game, the Knights practiced against Navy's triple option scheme by having coach Scott Frost, who ran the option offense during his time as quarterback at Nebraska from 1995 to 1997, play as the scout team's quarterback. The game ended up being the Knights closest scoring game yet, with Navy tying the Knights twice and being only three points down for most of the fourth quarter. Both teams offenses racked up over 400 yards. The Midshipmen's defense recorded one fumble, while the Knights defense recorded two interceptions and a fumble. The forced fumble by the Knights was key play of the fourth quarter. With 7:14 left in regulation, facing a 3rd down & 5 at the UCF 38, and trailing by only 3, Navy running back Darryl Bonner took a pitch to the left. A punishing hit by Brandon Moore jarred the ball loose, and Moore recovered for UCF. The Knights then iced the game with a 7-play, clock-burning drive, culminating in Otis Anderson's first career touchdown for the Knights, and a ten-point lead they would not surrender. With the 31–21 win, the Knights improved to 6–0 for the first time in program history.
|No. 18 Knights||14||31||14||14||73|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
Coming off of their closest game yet, the Knights welcomed the Austin Peay Governors (an FCS program) to Spectrum Stadium. Austin Peay came into the game 5–3, after having snapped their 29-game losing streak earlier in the year. Both teams offenses surged throughout the game, with the Governors putting up 352 yards and 33 points, the most by any UCF opponent in the season at the time. Meanwhile, the Knights offense put up 489 yards and a school record 73 points. The Knights defense forced two turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown by Shaquem Griffin. The game also included a kickoff return for a touchdown by each team, a tipped pass for an Austin Peay touchdown, both teams going two for two on fourth down conversions, Austin Peay guard Ryan Rockensuess recovering a fumble for a touchdown after the Governors offense fumbled twice in a play that started from the UCF 5 yard line, and an unsportsmanlike conduct call on UCF head coach Scott Frost, all in the first half. With rival USF's loss to Houston, combined with losses by TCU and Penn State to Iowa State and Ohio State respectively, the Knights became one of only five teams remaining undefeated after Week 9 (along with Alabama, Georgia, Miami (FL), and Wisconsin). They also rose to first place in the American Athletic Conference.
|No. 15 Knights||7||14||7||3||31|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
The Knights visited the SMU Mustangs, who started 6–2, their best record post "death penalty". Both teams boasted high powered offenses, leading some to believe the game would be an offensive shootout. Instead, the game became the second-lowest scoring game of the season for the Knights (behind only the Navy game). The game was the closest game yet for the Knights, and the only one to end as a single digit victory, as well as a one possession game. Though the Knights put up a season-high 615 yards on offense, they were unable to convert all of their drives into points. Inside the red zone, they turned over the ball on downs on their opening drive, and later lost a fumble. Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton also threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. The Knights offense was able to make big plays when it mattered, including an 80-yard touchdown reception by Gabriel Davis, a 64-yard touchdown run Adrian Killins Jr., and a 63-yard catch and run by Tre'Quan Smith which set up a field goal. The Knights defense forced a crucial SMU fumble at the goal line, keeping the Mustangs from scoring a touchdown in the second quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, two critical fourth down stops by the defense sealed the game for the Knights. With 5:10 remaining in regulation, facing a 4th down & 3 at the UCF 38, SMU quarterback Ben Hicks threw to Trey Quinn, who dropped the pass as he was turning down field, and the ball was turned over on downs. With 1:24 to go, the Mustangs faced yet another 4th down at their own 34. Hicks pass attempt was incomplete and the Knights took a knee to win the game.
|No. 14 Knights||21||7||0||21||49|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
UCF hosted UConn, in a matchup once known briefly as the Civil Conflict. With light rain showers in the area, UCF jumped out to a 21–3 lead after the first quarter. The Knights scored an opening drive touchdown run by Otis Anderson, aided by a fourth down conversion resulting from a Huskies offsides penalty as UCF lined up for a punt at their own 29 yard line. Midway through the second quarter, McKenzie Milton threw to Tre'Quan Smith who eluded three defenders untouched for a 41-yard touchdown pass, and UCF enjoyed a 28–10 halftime lead. The Knights, however, sputtered and were held scoreless in the third quarter. Huskies quarterback David Pindell completed a 60-yard pass to Arkeel Newsome, and on the next play, ran the ball in himself for a touchdown, and trimmed the lead to 28–17. Otis Anderson fumbled the ball deep in UConn territory, and later a turnover on downs, and UCF miscues became the focus of attention. The Knights turned the game around in the fourth quarter, however, behind a 65-yard touchdown run by Anderson, and another touchdown run by Milton. With just under 9 minutes remaining, the UCF defense forced a turnover on downs. On the next play from scrimmage, backup quarterback Noah Vedral threw a 35-yard touchdown to Cam Stewart, who was left unguarded, and the Knights sealed a 49–24 victory. With Georgia's loss to Auburn, UCF would be one of four remaining undefeated teams in the country (the others being Alabama, Miami (FL), and Wisconsin).
|No. 14 Knights||7||24||14||0||45|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
UCF traveled to Philadelphia to take on division opponent Temple. After a tight first quarter, Temple led 10–7 early in the second period. The Knights then scored 24 unanswered points to go ahead, and never surrendered the lead en route to a 45–19 victory. The Owls offense gave up three turnovers (two interceptions, and one fumble) in the second quarter, all of which led to UCF points. With just over three minutes left before halftime, UCF punter Mac Loudermilk pinned the Owls back at their own 8 yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, Owls quarterback Frank Nutile was intercepted by Kyle Gibson, who returned the ball to the 5 yard line. That set up a McKenzie Milton touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis, and capped off an explosive second quarter, and a comfortable 31–10 lead by the Knights at halftime. Both teams traded punts to start the third quarter. Then Milton threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Tre'Quan Smith to increase the lead. On the next drive, Shaquem Griffin intercepted Frank Nutile, and returned the ball 22 yards close to midfield. Milton drove the Knights down for another touchdown, and a 45–13 lead. The first team offense and first team defense were benched for the duration of the fourth quarter. The second team defense gave up one 74-yard touchdown pass from Frank Nutile to Adonis Jennings, but with three minutes to go Nevelle Clarke intercepted Nutile in the endzone to halt any chance of an Owls rally. The Knights improved to 10–0 on the season.
|No. 22 Bulls||7||13||14||8||42|
|No. 13 Knights||21||0||7||21||49|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
The 13th-ranked Knights welcomed the 22nd-ranked Bulls (9–1) to Spectrum Stadium with the winner of the game claiming the American Athletic Conference East Division title and a spot in the 2017 American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game. The game was the first ranked match-up in the War on I-4 rivalry. The game quickly turned into an offensive shootout, with a total of 1,186 yards of offense between both teams. The game came down to the wire, with UCF taking an eight-point lead (following an earlier missed extra point by South Florida) with 2:21 left in regulation. South Florida then tied the game with an 83-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion with 1:41 remaining. On the ensuing kickoff, UCF's Mike Hughes returned the kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, giving the Knights a 49–42 lead, with 1:28 left. The Bulls attempted to strike back, but fumbled on the UCF 45 yard line which UCF linebacker Chequan Burkett recovered to seal the game. The game was called one of the best of the season. With Miami and Alabama both losing their respective games, UCF and Wisconsin would be the only two undefeated teams in college football.
AAC Championship: Memphis
|No. 16 Tigers||7||24||3||14||7||0||55|
|No. 12 Knights||17||7||21||3||7||7||62|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
|10–1||September 30, 2017||W, 40–13|
Memphis fumbled away the ball on the first drive of the game. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton threw two touchdown passes, and the Knights led 17–7 at the end of the first quarter. Memphis dominated most of the second quarter, highlighted by miscues by the Knights, particularly on offense. Tigers quarterback Riley Ferguson threw two touchdown passes, including a 68-yard bomb to a wide open Anthony Miller. The Knights committed three turnovers in the second quarter, a fumble and two red zone interceptions. Tigers kicker Riley Patterson kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, and Memphis led at halftime 31–24.
UCF bounced back in the third quarter. Memphis opened the second half with a surprise onside kick, but the kick attempt failed. McKenzie Milton had two touchdown runs, and threw for another touchdown, and the Knights were back in the lead by the score of 45–34. Trailing by 14 partway through the fourth quarter, Tigers running back Tony Pollard broke away for a 66-yard touchdown run. On their next drive, Memphis tied the game 48–48 with Ferguson's 10-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller.
With 33 seconds remaining in regulation, Memphis lined up for a potential game-winning 46-yard field goal attempt. The field goal attempt was blocked and recovered by the Knights, but not before the Tigers were called for Delay of Game. The penalty gave the Tigers a second chance at a game-winning field goal attempt. Riley Patterson's 51-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left, and the game would ultimately go to overtime tied 48–48.
Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime period, and the game was tied 55–55 going into the second overtime. Otis Anderson scored a 1-yard touchdown run to put UCF ahead 62–55. Memphis took over on offense. Facing 2nd down & Goal at the UCF 9 yard line, Riley Ferguson dropped back to pass, but was pressured by Shaquem Griffin. Ferguson's pass was intercepted by Tre Neal at the 4 yard line to end the game. With UCF's victory, along with Wisconsin's loss in the Big Ten Championship, UCF would stand as the only undefeated team in the college football season.
Peach Bowl: Auburn
|No. 12 Knights||0||13||7||14||34|
|No. 7 Tigers||3||3||14||7||27|
|Overall record||Last meeting||Result|
The No. 12 Knights, as the highest ranked Group of Five team, were given an automatic bid to play in a College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowl, traveling up to Atlanta to play in the Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Knights were matched up against the No. 7 Auburn Tigers (10–3), the SEC West champion and 10.5 point favorite. For the Tigers, this would be their second of three consecutive games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, following their 28–7 loss to Georgia in the 2017 SEC Championship Game, while being scheduled to open their 2018 season against the Washington Huskies in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
McKenzie Milton was the offensive MVP for the UCF Knights with 245 passing yards throwing for two touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Jarrett Stidham had 331 passing yards throwing for one touchdown with two interceptions. UCF had 411 total yards compared to Auburn Tigers 421 total yards. However, the Tigers had three turnovers with Knights only having one. Shaquem Griffin had 12 tackles and one and a half sacks in the win for the Knights. Antwan Collier sealed the game for the Knights with an interception in the end zone with 24 seconds left. Griffin was later named the game's defensive MVP, with Milton the offensive MVP. Following the game, the school claimed a national championship. The team was ranked number 1 by the Colley Matrix, an NCAA-recognized selector of national champions. The NCAA does not officially select a national champion in FBS football.
UCF's national championship claim sparked a massive surge of interest in the school and the program. Under new coach Josh Heupel, UCF would not lose again until 2019.
|CFP||Not released||18||18||15||15||14||12||Not released|
Scores by quarter
|Rushing and receiving statistics|
Awards and milestones
American Athletic Conference honors
American Athletic Conference All-Conference First Team
American Athletic Conference All-Conference Second Team
American Athletic Conference offensive player of the week
- September 4: McKenzie Milton
- October 2: Adrian Killins Jr.
- October 16: McKenzie Milton
- November 20: McKenzie Milton
- November 27: McKenzie Milton
American Athletic Conference special teams player of the week
- October 2: Matthew Wright
- October 16: Mike Hughes
- October 30: Mike Hughes
- November 27: Mike Hughes
- Best record to start season: 13–0
- Most consecutive victories: 25
- Longest rush from scrimmage: 96 yards (touchdown) – Adrian Killins (September 30, 2017 vs. Memphis)
- Most points scored in single game: 73 vs. Austin Peay (October 28, 2017)
- Most points scored in a season: 627
- Passing yards in a season: 4,037, McKenzie Milton
- Passing touchdowns in a season: 37, McKenzie Milton
- Rushing yards by a quarterback in a season: 613 yards, McKenzie Milton
- Total touchdowns responsible for in a season: 45 (37 passing, 8 rushing), McKenzie Milton
- Total offense in a single game: 562 yards (494 passing, 68 rushing), McKenzie Milton (December 2, 2017, American Championship Game vs. Memphis)
National awards and honors
- AFCA Coach of the Year Award – Scott Frost
- Archie Griffin Award — McKenzie Milton
- Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award – Scott Frost
- Broyles Award — Troy Walters (semi-finalist)
- College GameDay "Herbie" Awards
- Moment of the Year — Scott Frost winning AAC Championship
- Game of the Year — UCF vs. South Florida
- Davey O'Brien National Quarterback Award (semi-finalist) — McKenzie Milton
- ESPN All-Bowl Team – Shaquem Griffin
- George Munger Coach of the Year — Scott Frost (semi-finalist)
- Home Depot Coach of the Year – Scott Frost
- Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year (finalist) — Shaquem Griffin
- Manning Award Quarterback of the Week (Week 12) — McKenzie Milton
- Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week (Week 11) — Mac Loudermilk
- Senior CLASS Award – Shaquem Griffin
- Touchdown Club of Columbus Male Athlete of the Year — Shaquem Griffin
- Walter Camp Award FBS Offensive Player of the Week (Week 13) — McKenzie Milton
- Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (semi-finalist) — McKenzie Milton
- Woody Hayes Trophy — Scott Frost
American Football Coaches Association Second Team All-American
Football Writers Association of America Second Team All-American
Players in the 2018 NFL Draft
|Mike Hughes||CB||1||30||Minnesota Vikings|
|Tre'Quan Smith||WR||3||91||New Orleans Saints|
|Jordan Akins||TE||3||98||Houston Texans|
|Shaquem Griffin||LB||5||141||Seattle Seahawks|
Additionally, two players were signed as undrafted free agents:
|Jordan Franks||TE||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Jamiyus Pittman||DT||Miami Dolphins|
- The Georgia Tech game was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma.
- The Memphis-UCF game, originally scheduled for September 9 at 8:00 pm, was moved on September 5, to September 8 with a 6:30pm kickoff due to Hurricane Irma. The game was then cancelled on September 8 out of caution from the threat of the hurricane. The teams announced on September 14 that the game had been moved to September 30, taking the place of the Maine-UCF game.
- The Maine game was cancelled to make room for the conference match-up against Memphis, which was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
- The Cincinnati game was delayed for lightning with four seconds left in the third quarter. After the delay lasted over an hour, the American Athletic Conference cancelled the rest of the game.
- The NCAA approved a waiver for Austin Peay to add a game to its schedule and visit UCF on October 28, giving them a sixth home game.
- Reedy, Joe (November 24, 2017). "Winless to unbeaten: No. 12 UCF beats USF to cap turnaround". ABC News. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Schad, Tom (January 1, 2018). "Scott Frost: Committee seemed to make 'conscious effort' to keep UCF low in Playoff rankings". USA TODAY.
- Adelson, Andrea (January 3, 2018). "UCF to celebrate perfect season with national title banner, parade". ESPN.
- Gillespie, Ryan (January 3, 2018). "UCF national champs? Florida lawmakers could declare it so". Orlando Sentinel.
- Scott, Rick (January 8, 2018). "National Champion University of Central Florida Knights" (PDF). FLGov.com.
- "Colley Matrix 2017 Rankings, Week 17". Colley Matrix. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Romero, Iliana Limón (August 25, 2018). "UCF officially listed among national champions in 2018 NCAA record book". Orlando Sentinel.
- "UCFKnights.com | Football Roster". ucfknights.com. Archived from the original on January 3, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- "Knights Set for Saturday's Spring Game". UCF Athletics. April 19, 2017. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Green, Shannon (April 22, 2017). "UCF QB McKenzie Milton shows improvement during spring game". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
- "2017 Football Schedule Unveiled". UCF Athletics (Press release). February 9, 2017. Archived from the original on March 17, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Following Irma, UCF – Georgia Tech Called Off". UCF Athletics (Press release). September 11, 2017. Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Game On – UCF vs. Memphis". UCF Athletics (Press release). September 14, 2017. Archived from the original on September 16, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Knights Add 6th Home Game". UCF Athletics (Press release). September 21, 2017. Archived from the original on September 22, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "UCF vs. Memphis Moves to Friday with a 6:30 pm". UCF Athletics (Press release). September 5, 2017. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "UCF-Memphis Called Off: Hurricane Irma Forces Game to Be Called Off". UCF Athletics (Press release). September 8, 2017. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
- Kay, Joe (October 8, 2017). "No. 25 UCF routs Cincinnati 51–23 in rain-shortened game". ESPN. Associated Press. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- MacDougall, Ian (October 7, 2017). "Bearcat Beatdown". UCF Athletics. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- UCF Football [@UCF_Football] (November 13, 2017). "All 👀 on Orlando Nov. 24 #WarOnI4" (Tweet). Retrieved November 24, 2017 – via Twitter.
- "2017 UCF Knights Football Schedule". FB Schedules. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "USF over UCF 44–3". ESPN.com. November 26, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "Turnovers help lift UCF over Cincinnati 24–3". ESPN.com. November 12, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "Arkansas State routs UCF 31–13 in Cure Bowl". ESPN.com. December 18, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "UCF routs FIU 61–17, spoiling Butch Davis' return". ESPN.com. August 31, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Martin, Annie (September 12, 2017). "Hurricane Irma: UCF hosts National Guard". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "Central Florida breezes past QB-depleted Maryland 38–10". ESPN.com. September 24, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "Milton, Killins lead UCF to 40–13 win over Memphis". ESPN.com. September 30, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "FBS (I-A) Team Total Offense Statistics – 2017 (Sorted PTS/G)". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "FBS (I-A) Team Total Offense Statistics – 2017 (Sorted YDS/G)". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45–19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten". ESPN.com. November 18, 2018. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Kercheval, Ben (November 25, 2017). "Three TDs in 53 seconds? UCF beats USF in college football's game of the year". CBSSports.com.
- D'Andrea, Christian; Kirk, Jason; Johnson, Richard (November 24, 2017). "UCF beats USF in CFB's best game of 2017 so far". SBNation.com.
- "No. 12 UCF caps perfect regular season with win over USF". ESPN.com. November 24, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Staples, Andy (November 1, 2017). "If Scott Frost Had His Pick of Power 5 Jobs, Where Would He Go?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Limón Romero, Iliana (November 25, 2017). "UCF tries to hold onto Scott Frost as Nebraska job opens, Chip Kelly spurns UF". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Papke, Grey (November 25, 2017). "Nebraska AD admits Scott Frost is a target in coaching search". Larry Brown Sports. msn.com. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "Source: Frost turns down Gators coaching job; UF now looks at Mullen". WTSP. November 26, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "No. 12 UCF captures AAC title over No. 16 Memphis in 2 OTs". ESPN.com. December 3, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- "2017's bowl games announced, highlighted by big New Year's Six". ESPN.com. December 6, 2017. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
- Kercheval, Ben (December 2, 2017). "UCF's Scott Frost agrees to seven-year deal to become Nebraska's next coach". CBS Sports. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "UCF tabs Josh Heupel to be Knights' next football coach". USA Today. December 5, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Crepea, James (December 7, 2017). "Scott Frost 'trying to work it out' to coach UCF in Peach Bowl against Auburn". AL.com. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Diaz, George (December 7, 2017). "Commentary: Scott Frost coaching Peach Bowl an awkward look for UCF". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Bianchi, Mike (December 12, 2017). "Commentary: Hallelujah! Scott Frost is back where he belongs — coaching his UCF Knights in the Peach Bowl". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "Scott Frost's crazy month juggling Nebraska and UCF". ESPN.com. December 27, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "Frost: Finishing UCF job is 'right thing to do'". ESPN.com. January 1, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "Central Florida completes perfect season with defeat of Auburn in Peach Bowl". USA Today. January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Gartland, Dan (January 1, 2018). "UCF Athletic Director Proclaims Knights National Champions After Win Over Auburn". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Bianchi, Mike (January 1, 2018). "Commentary: After Peach Bowl win over Auburn, UCF is the real national champion". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Bianchi, Mike (January 8, 2018). "Commentary: Presenting UCF with national championship trophy is what sports journalism is all about". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- "Prince George Journal names Central Florida Knights FBS Champs". The Prince George Journal. January 2, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Simmons, Roger (January 9, 2018). "National champions: UCF Knights finish season ranked No. 1 in Colley Matrix". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Axson, Scooby (January 9, 2018). "Alabama No. 1 in Final AP Poll; UCF Finishes 6th". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Adelson, Andrea (January 9, 2018). "The national championship celebration before the title game". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Smith, Michael David (January 23, 2018). "NFL to recognize undefeated UCF team at the Pro Bowl". NBC Sports. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Ginsburg, David (September 24, 2017). "Central Florida breezes past QB-depleted Maryland 38–10". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "UCF vs. Maryland – Play-By-Play". ESPN. September 23, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- MacDougall, Ian (September 23, 2017). "Terp Takedown". UCF Athletics. Archived from the original on September 25, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Milton, Killins lead UCF to 40–13 win over Memphis". USA TODAY. Associated Press. September 30, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- MacDougall, Ian (September 30, 2017). "Mauling Memphis". UCF Athletics. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Recap: East Carolina 21, Central Florida 63". VegasInsider.com. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- MacDougall, Ian (October 14, 2017). "Homecoming High Note". UCF Athletics. Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- UCF Football [@UCF_Football] (October 14, 2017). "5–0 🚀 Most points since 2001 🙌 #UCFinSpace #UCFHC" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Hays, Chris (October 15, 2017). "No. 22 UCF keeps rolling, earns 63–21 win over East Carolina". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- Harris, Terrance (October 15, 2017). "Milton, No. 22 UCF roll past East Carolina, 63–21". ESPN.com. Associated Press. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "UCF Football 2017 Media Guide" (PDF). UCF Athletics. UCF Knights. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017.
- "Memphis uses 5 turnovers to hand No. 25 Navy 1st loss, 30–27". ESPN. Associated Press. October 15, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Kirshner, Alex (October 21, 2017). "UCF beats Navy, is the mid-major New Year's 6 frontrunner". SBNation. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Adelson, Andrea (October 18, 2017). "UCF coach Scott Frost's new role: scout-team quarterback". ESPN. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Murschel, Matt (October 17, 2017). "UCF coach Scott Frost lines up as scout team QB to help Knights prep for Navy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- MacDougall, Ian (October 21, 2017). "Knocking Off Navy". UCF Athletics. Archived from the original on October 23, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Play-by-Play – UCF vs. Navy". ESPN. October 21, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Simmons, Christian (October 28, 2017). "Austin Peay savors surprise trip to Florida ahead of loss to UCF". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Austin Peay vs. UCF – Team Statistics". ESPN. October 28, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "No. 18 UCF Blows Out Austin Peay 73–33". USA Today. Associated Press. October 28, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Green, Shannon (October 28, 2017). "UCF sets scoring record during 73–33 rout of Austin Peay". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Wittry, Andy (October 29, 2017). "Undefeated college football teams in 2017". NCAA.com. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Green, Shannon (November 3, 2017). "Game Preview: No. 18 UCF at SMU". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "UCF vs. SMU – Team". ESPN. November 4, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "No. 15 UCF Stays Undefeated With 31–24 Victory Over SMU". The New York Times. Associated Press. November 5, 2017.
- Hays, Chris (November 4, 2017). "No. 18 UCF narrowly passes road test, edges SMU". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Prothro, Jacob (November 5, 2017). "Mustangs can't get it done against UCF". The Daily Campus. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Anderson Helps No. 14 UCF Pull Away From UConn for 49–24 Win". The New York Times. Associated Press. November 11, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "No. 14 UCF Rolls Temple 45–19, Heads to War on I-4 Unbeaten". The New York Times. Associated Press. November 18, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Green, Shannon (November 18, 2017). "No. 15 UCF rolls to victory over Temple, improves to 10–0". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Knights Ranked 12th and 13th in National Polls". UCF Athletics. November 19, 2017. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Reedy, Joe (November 24, 2017). "Winless to Unbeaten: No. 12 UCF Beats USF to Cap Turnaround". The New York Times. Associated Press.
- "South Florida vs. UCF – Play-By-Play – November 24, 2017 – ESPN". ESPN.com.
- Adelson, Andrea (November 25, 2017). "Inside UCF's 95-yard kickoff return that clinched wild win". ESPN.com.
- Staples, Andy (November 24, 2017). "UCF edges USF to stay perfect, quell Scott Frost news". Sports Illustrated.
- Green, Shannon (November 24, 2017). "UCF rallies for historic win over rival USF, clinches perfect season". Orlando Sentinel.
- Short, Chas (November 24, 2017). "#15 UCF Beats USF 49–42 In Epic Edition of the War on I-4". Underdog Dynasty.
- "No. 12 UCF captures AAC title over No. 16 Memphis in 2 OTs". ESPN. Associated Press. December 2, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
- Stewart Mandel (November 12, 2012). "Stewart Mandel: Big East, rest of 'Group of Five' score victory with six-bowl decision". SI.com. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
- "Recap: Central Florida 34, Auburn 27". VegasInsider.com. January 1, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
- Stevens, Matthew (December 3, 2017). "Auburn to face undefeated Central Florida in Peach Bowl". The Montgomery Advertiser.
- McPherson, Jordan (January 2, 2018). "Le Batard: UCF 'could have been the most surprising national champion' in football history". Miami Herald.
- "Milton powers No. 10 UCF to 34–27 Peach Bowl win over Auburn". New York Daily News. Associated Press. January 1, 2018.
- "Football Bowl Subdivision Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 109. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
- Seeley, Andy (January 10, 2018). "Knights Ranked No. 1 - UCF" (Press release). UCF Athletics. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
- "If Bama can claim made-up national titles, so can UCF". SBNation.com.
- "Who has won the most national titles in college football? Depends on who does the counting". Fox News. Associated Press. December 28, 2012.
- "2017 American Athletic Conference Football Postseason Honors" (Press release). American Athletic Conference. November 29, 2017.
- "American Athletic Conference Football Report, 2017 Season – Week 13" (PDF). The American Athletic Conference. November 20, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Milton, Flowers Highlight final football weekly honors". TheAmerican.org. November 27, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Postgame Notes – UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). Archived from the original on January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
- USA Today Sports [@usatodaysports] (January 9, 2018). "2017 AFCA FBS Coach of the Year Award Scott Frost, University of Central Floridapic.twitter.com/4azpvZctfk" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Milton Named Archie Griffin Award Winner" (Press release). January 22, 2018. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
- Russo, Ralph D. (December 18, 2017). "College football: Scott Frost named AP Coach of the Year after leading UCF to undefeated season". NCAA.com. Associated Press.
- "Walters Named Broyles Award Semifinalist" (Press release). UCFKnights.com. November 21, 2017. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Seeley, Andy (November 7, 2017). "Milton Makes Cut". UCF Athletics (Press release). Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- Schlabach, Mark (January 10, 2018). "Introducing the ESPN All-Bowl team". ESPN.
- "Frost Up For Coach of Year" (Press release). UCFKnights.com. November 16, 2017. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "National Coach of the Year – UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). December 6, 2017. Archived from the original on December 7, 2017. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
- Seeley, Andy (November 7, 2017). "Griffin Named Semi-Finalist". UCF Athletics (Press release). Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "Griffin a Witten Finalist – UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). December 12, 2017. Archived from the original on December 15, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- "Milton Named Manning Award QB of the Week" (Press release). UCFKnights.com. November 22, 2017. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "Central Florida Punter Mac Loudermilk Earns Ray Guy Award Weekly Honor" (Press release). Ray Guy Award. November 14, 2017. Archived from the original on November 15, 2017. Retrieved November 24, 2017.
- "UCF's Shaquem Griffin Selected as the 2017 Senior CLASS Award® Winner for FBS Football | Senior CLASS Award". www.seniorclassaward.com (Press release). December 27, 2017.
- "McKenzie Milton Named Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week" (Press release). UCFKnights.com. November 26, 2017. Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2017.
- Forcella, Daniel (December 13, 2017). "Griffin All-American – UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). Archived from the original on December 15, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- Forcella, Daniel (December 11, 2017). "Hughes All-American – UCF". UCF Athletics (Press release). Archived from the original on December 15, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- Media related to 2017 UCF Knights football team at Wikimedia Commons