By PAT EATON-ROBB
The Associated Press
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — No. 21 UCF has a new coaching staff — and an offense that looks very similar to the one that helped the Knights go undefeated season a year ago.
McKenzie Milton threw for 346 yards and tied a career high with five touchdowns as the self-proclaimed defending national champions routed UConn 56-17 on Thursday to extend the longest winning streak in the nation to 14 games.
Milton, a graduate of Mililani High School, completed 24 of 32 passes and ran for another 50 yards on seven carries. Sophomore receiver Tre Nixon, a transfer from Mississippi, caught five passes for 101 yards and scored on plays of 34 and 11 yards.
Backup quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. came on in the fourth quarter and broke a 70-yard touchdown run down the left sideline, making him the team’s leading rusher.
It was the first game for coach Josh Heupel, who took the reins after Scott Frost left for Nebraska.
“I don’t know if we’re going to miss a beat,” Milton said. “The schematics are a little different, but we’re going to score a lot of points no matter what.”
UConn quarterback David Pindell was a bright spot for the Huskies, throwing for 266 yards and a touchdown and running for another 157 yards and a score.
But the Huskies had 30 freshmen and sophomores on their two-deep, and more than a dozen players saw their first live-game action.
“I thought we had some young men who played a bit tentative for their first time and just didn’t let it go,” coach Randy Edsall said. “Now they understand how hard it is.”
Heupel’s fast-paced offense is as advertised, putting up 652 yards and scoring eight touchdowns on 11 drives, with each scoring drive taking less than 3 minutes off the clock.
“I’m a big fan of coach Huep’s system,” Milton said. “I think it exposes defenses and I think it’s going to be very good for UCF.”
The Huskies seem to have found their quarterback in Pindell. In addition to completing 27- of-41 passes and running 22 times, he had another 50-yard touchdown run called back because of a holding penalty. The Huskies put up 486 yards of offense.
“We made some big plays on offense and we pushed the ball a lot,” Pindell said. “We just have to execute in the red zone and the tight red. That’s the biggest thing.”
UCF 56, UConn 17
Rhode Island 21, Delaware 19
Maine 35, New Hampshire 7
Georgia St. 24, Kennesaw St. 20
Louisiana-Monroe 34, SE Louisiana 31
UAB 52, Savannah St. 0
Chattanooga 34, Tennessee Tech 10
Wake Forest 23, Tulane 17, OT
S. Illinois 49, Murray St. 10
Ball St. 42, CCSU 6
Minnesota 48, New Mexico St. 10
Northwestern 31, Purdue 27
Indiana St. 49, Quincy 0
Oklahoma St. 58, Missouri St. 17
Texas A&M 59, Northwestern St. 7
Montana St. 26, W. Illinois 23
Utah 41, Weber St. 10
UC Davis 44, San Jose St. 38