No. 25 UCF routs Cincinnati 51-23 in rain-shortened game

- By JOE KAY
AP Sports Writer

McKenzie Milton threw a career-high five touchdown passes -- four in the first half -- and Tre'Quan Smith scored four times to help No. 25 UCF roll to a storm-shortened 51-23 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday night in the Knights' first game as a ranked team since 2013.
 
   UCF (4-0, 2-0 American Athletic) has opened with four wins for the first time since 1988, when the Knights were in Division II. They failed to win a game two years ago, and went 6-7 in coach Scott Frost's first year.
 
   And now, the turnaround is complete.
 
   "I think our team as a whole is coming together, playing together," Milton said. "We have more of an edge than we did last year."
 
   The only thing that stopped them Saturday was a storm system. Lightning and heavy rain moved in with 4 seconds left in the third quarter. The game was called after a one-hour delay with more storms on the way.
 
   "Nobody wants the weather to determine a game," said Smith, who had five catches for 165 yards. "I know Cincinnati wanted to keep playing. We wanted to keep playing, too."
 
   No wonder. The Knights have dominated every game, outscoring opponents 190-63. By contrast, Cincinnati (2-4, 0-2) has dropped three straight in Luke Fickell's first season as head coach.
 
   The Knights moved into the Top 25 with a 40-13 victory over Memphis. They carried the momentum to the road by scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions and getting points all eight times they had the ball.
 
   Milton hit open receivers for touchdowns of 54 and 79 yards on the Knights' first two possessions. The sophomore quarterback finished 16 of 19 for 374 yards with touchdowns of 54, 79, 21, 41 and 22 yards. Smith caught two TD passes, giving him six this season, and added his first career rushing touchdown.
 
   THE TAKEAWAY
 
   UCF: How would the Knights handle a road game after moving into the rankings? Without a problem. Their offense made quick work of Cincinnati's overmatched defense, with receivers repeatedly running past defenders. Milton has grown into one of the nation's most dependable passers in his second season with only two interceptions in four games.
 
   Cincinnati: The Bearcats fell into a bad habit: Falling so far behind that they can never catch up. They've been outscored 62-21 in first quarters this season. The Knights led 20-7 after the first quarter.
 
   POLL IMPLICATIONS
 
   With their impressive win, the Knights gave themselves a chance to move up. No. 21 Florida and No. 23 West Virginia lost Saturday. UCF has shown good balance in all four wins. The Knights came into the game ranking in the top 10 in both points and points allowed.
 
   TURNOVER TITANS
 
   The Knights led the nation in turnover ratio at 2.33 and were good with the ball again, getting one interception while not turning the ball over. Their offense has only three turnovers this season.
 
   MILTON VS BEARCATS
 
   Milton had one of his better games in its 24-3 victory over Cincinnati last season that clinched a bowl berth. Then a freshman, he completed 13 consecutive passes -- two shy of the school record held by Daunte Culpepper -- and finished 22 of 34 for 150 yards with a touchdown.
 
   LONE THREAT
 
   Cincinnati's Hayden Moore ran for a pair of touchdowns and threw for another. He led Bearcats with a career-high 81 yards rushing. The reds of the team managed 42 yards rushing.
 
   UP NEXT
 
   UCF: Hosts East Carolina next Saturday. The Knights won 47-29 last season and have won three of the last four in the series.
 
   Cincinnati: Faces a ranked team for the second straight week when it plays at South Florida on Saturday. The Bearcats lost at home to the Bulls 45-20 last season. In their last trip to South Florida, they lost 65-27.
 

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