Pitt puts up little resistance as Central Florida rolls
Central Florida stretched the nation’s longest winning streak to 17 games Saturday with a dominant 45-14 victory against Pitt in Orlando, Fla.
The No. 13 Knights (4-0) never were threatened by the Panthers (2-3), who gave up 568 yards of total offense and did not score from scrimmage until Maurice Ffrench’s 58-yard run on a short flip from quarterback Kenny Pickett with 4 minutes, 46 seconds left.
Pitt has allowed at least 38 points in each of its three losses. Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 18 of 34 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for 51 yards and two scores.
The Knights have scored at least 30 points in each game of their winning streak, and Saturday they didn’t have to play the second half to do it.
Central Florida recorded 316 yards of total offense in the first half and took a 31-7 lead into intermission. But it also received a huge helping hand from Pitt that it didn’t need.
The Panthers were penalized eight times for 92 yards in the first two quarters, 22 yards short of their total from scrimmage (114). The worst of the penalties occurred near the end of the first half, when Pitt senior linebacker Quintin Wirginis was called for roughing the passer, a mistake that wiped out an 88-yard interception return by Pitt safety Damar Hamlin to the UCF 3. Pitt also was caught with a block in the back during the return, but it was declined.
Pitt fell behind early when Milton ran 5 yards and threw 24 to Gabriel Davis to give Central Florida a 14-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
The Panthers responded with an 86-yard punt return by Florida native Rafael Araujo-Lopes to cut the lead to 14-7. But Central Florida restored its 14-point lead when Milton ran 23 yards for a touchdown 10 seconds into the second quarter.
Other than the punt return, Pitt’s only scoring threat in the first half ended when Central Florida’s Richie Grant intercepted a Pickett pass on the UCF 8.
The Knights took the ball and eventually scored on a 2-yard pass from Milton to Michael Colubiale.