UCF Knights running back Dontravious Wilson (7) celebrates a touchdown against the Southern Methodist Mustangs in the first half.
David Manning/David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — It normally doesn’t pay to play just one quarter of football, but that’s all the University of Central Florida needed to rout winless SMU 53-7.
Justin Holman threw two touchdown passes and Dontravious Wilson scored twice, all in the first quarter, as UCF (7-3, 5-1) raced out to a 27-0 and buried the Mustangs. The Knights ran up 247 yards of offense in the quarter, forced two turnovers and didn’t commit a penalty against the outmanned Mustangs (0-10, 0-6).
"We got some turnovers early that made a difference in the game," UCF Coach George O’Leary said. "Everybody wants to see more offense, but I’ve been at both ends of that score. We just tried to eat the clock and run the ball down the stretch."
UCF held SMU to just 116 yards total offense and four first downs. Mustangs starting quarterback Matt Davis was just six of 15 for 44 yards. Backup Garrett Krstich came on midway through the third quarter and was three of seven for 6 yards. The Mustangs had five turnovers in the game.
"We were flat in the locker room before the game, we were flat when we came out and it showed," SMU interim coach Tom Mason said. "We’ve played some Big 12 teams this year and UCF is in that caliber of team, but for whatever reason, we just weren’t ready to play today."
"Anytime you hold a team to just four first downs, that says a lot," O’Leary said. "We did a good job containing the quarterback (Davis) and keeping him in the pocket. He’s been the difference their offense the last couple of games, but we tackled well in space, which is a key against a spread offense."
The rout was on early as UCF played a near-perfect first quarter. The Knights got touchdown runs of 1 and 11 yards from Wilson and TD passes of 58 and 18 yards from Holman to J.J. Worton and Breshad Perriman to build a 27-0 lead.
SMU, on the other hand, had two turnovers and 28 yards of offense in the first period. Davis threw an interception on his team’s first offensive play.
SMU had another one-play drive later in the quarter when running back K.C. Nlemichi fumbled a handoff and UCF’s Miles Pace fell on it at the SMU 20.
The one positive for the Mustangs in the quarter was a 64-yard kickoff return by Deion Sanders Jr., that set SMU up at the UCF 30-yard line. Davis did the rest, rushing four straight times for 30 yards, eventually scoring from five yards out.
The momentum change didn’t last long. UCF’s Michael Easton returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown.
"We’ve been screaming all year about taking one to the house," O’Leary said. "I’m happy for him. He’s put in a lot of time and is a good special teams player for us."
Rodrigo Quirarte kicked a 31 yard field goal just before halftime to make it 37-7 at the half.
UCF tacked on a 1-yard touchdown plunge by backup quarterback Nick Patti and three field goals by Shawn Moffitt in the second half.
The Knights defense, meanwhile tied the school record by allowing only four first downs in the game.
"I don’t think you could ask for a better send off than that," said UCF senior linebacker Terrence Plummer of the final home game of his career.