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UCF starts fast and wakes up from slumber to take halftime lead on FAU

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Expected to be one of the top Group of Five matchups of the season, UCF and FAU have not disappointed so far Friday night. After UCF jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the visiting Owls, Devin Singletary provided a charge to help FAU take a 17-14 lead in the final two minutes of the first half in Orlando, but McKenzie Milton drove the Knights right down the field on a late possession to re-take a 21-17 lead.

UCF opened the game on a solid foot with the defense ending FAU’s game-opening drive on an interception by linebacker Pat Jasinski. Just a few plays later, McKenzie Milton kept the ball himself and ran untouched for a touchdown to the right side.

UCF extended their lead to 14-0 with a 10-play, 92-yard drive in under three minutes on their next possession. Milton ended the drive with a touchdown strike to Dredrick Snelson. After exchanging three-and-out possessions, FAU finally got something working for them on offense after taking advantage of a well-run fake punt to keep a drive alive.

A face mask penalty on UCF helped FAU continue to move downfield a few plays later and Singletary broke off a would-be-tackler and took off up the middle 11 yards for a touchdown for FAU’s first points of the game.

FAU kept things going in their favor with another quick three-and-out against the UCF offense. Singletary then scored his second touchdown of the half to draw the game even at 14-14 with five minutes gone in the second quarter. FAU took its first lead of the night with a field goal by Vladimir Rivas in the final two minutes.

The lead lasted all of one minute and three seconds. Milton answered with a lightning-fast 78-yard touchdown drive by completing passes four of five plays, ending the drive with a touchdown pass to Marlon Williams.

UCF offensive lineman Wyatt Miller left the game with an undisclosed injury in the first half. His status is unknown, but he has not returned to the game.

WATCH: Houston throws two forward passes on same play vs. Texas Tech (and gets away with it!)

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Houston had trouble beating Texas Tech on Saturday, even though they tried throwing forward passes twice on the same play.

In a game that was described as being defense-optional, it would appear the officiating was optional too at times. Early in the third quarter, with Houston trailing by a touchdown, the Cougars ran quite a play that bewildered the officials. Quarterback D’Eriq King threw a quick forward pass to wide receiver Marquez Stevenson. Stevenson scrambled to get away from defenders and then lobbed a pass downfield to Keith Corbin for a gain of 31 yards.

Somehow, the officials let this illegal double forward-pass play go by without a penalty flag.

Though it did not end up costing Texas Tech the game (the Red Raiders won 63-49), this play did pick up a first down on a 2nd & 23 and the drive later ended with a game-tying touchdown by the Cougars to open up the second half.

Remember, it’s only illegal if you get caught.

Minnesota RB Rodney Smith lost for year to knee injury

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Minnesota running back Rodney Smith will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a knee jury against Fresno State, the program announced Monday.

“I am devastated for Rodney, but I know he will keep his oar in the water and continue to move forward and attack his rehabilitation process,” Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck said in a statement. “He is a leader on this team and I look forward to him working with our young players as we continue to grow this season.”

A senior from Jonesboro, Ga., Smith entered the season ranking fifth in Gophers history in career carries (651) and seventh in yards (2,959). He earned the Bronko Nagurski Award as the team’s MVP in 2017 after carrying 299 times for 977 yards and three touchdowns. Smith was also named MVP of Minnesota’s 2016 Holiday Bowl win over Washington State, rushing 17 times for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Smith was off to a promising start to his senior campaign, rushing 24 times for 153 yards in a 48-10 win over New Mexico State last Thursday. He carried one time for one yard in Saturday’s game with Fresno State. Smith was injured on the third play of the game after catching an 11-yard screen pass and remained on the turf after being tackled.

Minnesota went on to win the game, 21-14.

Smith has already used his redshirt season, but Fleck said Monday that Minnesota will apply for a waiver to get its running back a sixth season.

With Smith out, Minnesota figures to turn a pair of freshmen — Bryce Williams and Mohamed Ibrahim — to carry the load at running back.

McKenzie Milton’s 3 TDs help UCF build 28-10 halftime lead at UConn

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After a scary moment on the opening kickoff, it has been business as usual for UCF in the first half of the season. McKenzie Milton has thrown three touchdowns and the defending AAC champions are up 28-10 on the road at UConn at halftime.

Special teams player and backup cornerback Aaron Robinson was carted off the field on a stretcher after suffering a severe injury on the game’s opening kickoff. He did have movement in his legs and managed to give a thumbs up as he was taken off the field, but the game was forced to pause for about 10 minutes just after it got started in order to properly take care of the injured Robinson.

Milton has completed 13 of 16 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns. He is also UCF’s leading rusher with 50 yards on the ground.

UCF scored touchdowns on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. UConn fumbled away the opening possession on the sixth play of the game, and the Huskies were held to a three-and-out on their second offensive series. After UConn kicked a field goal to put some points on the board, UCF answered with a four-play, 76-yard touchdown drive capped by Milton’s second touchdown pass of the night, this one to Gabriel Davis from 10 yards out.

Earlier, Milton threw a 34-yard pass to Tre Nixon while rolling to his right to put the Knights up 14-0.

Down 21-3, UConn strung together a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a David Pindell pass to Tyler Davis for five yards and a score. Pindell is the game’s leading rusher with 92 yards on 12 carries. The Huskies just have not been able to keep up the pace against UCF through one half. They have quite an uphill battle to climb at home in the second half if UConn is going to give UCF a fight.

UConn walk-on who earned scholarship, starting job this summer suffers torn ACL

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On no level whatsoever is this isn’t even remotely fair.

Donevin O’Reilly originally walked on to the UConn football team just after the start of the 2017 season — he carried the ball once and returned a pair of kickoffs last year — before breaking out during spring practice earlier this offseason, not only earning a scholarship from the university this month but also claiming a majority of the reps with the No. 1 offense during summer camp. Unfortunately for the running back, however, his Cinderella season is over before it ever got started as Randy Edsall confirmed Wednesday that O’Reilly has suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.

O’Reilly sustained the non-contact injury Monday during a special teams drill. He’ll undergo surgery Friday to repair the damage and will be sidelined for all of 2018.

“That’s the stuff as a coach that it’s like, ‘why?’” Edsall said by way of the Hartford Courant. “That kid put so much into it, he’s worked extremely hard. He was really the No. 1 tailback, and to see him go down, I just feel for him.”

O’Reilly’s injury is the second significant blow to the Huskies’ backfield this month. Less than two weeks ago, Nate Hopkins, who led the team in rushing touchdowns with seven a year ago, abruptly left the squad after deciding to transfer.

The Courant notes that, “[w]ith O’Reilly out and Hopkins gone, [redshirt] freshman Zavier Scott will assume the bulk of UConn’s carries, with sophomore Kevin Mensah the likely backup.” Mensah’s 561 yards rushing last season were tops on the Huskies, while Scott, raised in a military family, spent his junior and senior seasons at a high school in Germany before coming to UConn in 2017 as a wide receiver.