UCF’s season has now come to a close.
For Scott Frost — who will now be 100 percent focused on the Nebraska Cornhuskers from this point forward — it was the ending to a perfect season. The Knights finished 13-0 with a 34-27 victory over Auburn in the Peach Bowl.
Frost talked with the media after the game and both the Knights and Cornhuskers came up.
Here’s what Frost said after UCF’s 34-27 win over Auburn:
“Great Bowl experience. This is my 10th as a player or a coach, New Year’s Day bowl. The Peach Bowl is right up there with all of them. The people were so accommodating and polite. We had so much fun here as a team, and we’re grateful to have been given this chance.”
On whether UCF should have a claim for the National Championship:
“Going through the season, I was afraid to say much about the rankings and everything because I’m a little superstitious. And just when a coach starts running his mouth, that’s when you lose the next game. But it wasn’t right. I was watching every week, the [College Football Playoff selection] committee sitting in a room and decide this 2-loss team must be better than UCF because UCF is in the American [Athletic Conference]. Or this 3-loss team must be better than UCF.
“It looked like a conscious effort to me to make sure that they didn’t have a problem if they put us too high and a couple teams ahead of us lost. And oh, no, now we have to put them in a playoff. But we just beat a team that beat two playoff teams and lost to another one by 6 points and we beat them by 7.
“And Auburn is a great team. I’m not taking anything away from them. I give them a ton of credit. But these guys deserve everything they get, and they deserve more credit from the committee than what they got.”
On UCF’s last three games:
“That’s a hard question to answer in a short amount of time. Listen, through the most part of the year, these guys put people away. You know, we won games by a good margin. We played three really good football teams to finish the year. Memphis offensively is as good as there is in the country. USF is a good all-around team. This is one of the best teams in the country.
“What our kids accomplished and overcame, they overcame playing 12 weeks in a row, or 11 weeks in a row, to finish the season without a break, coming off a hurricane, having schedules change, having a Saturday game, and then coming back and playing away. And then coming back and playing a Friday game for — on the last game of the year, and then turning around and winning the conference championship, coming here with a coach that took another job and all those distractions, and finding a way to get it done.
“I didn’t know if these guys would be able to do it. I came back because it was the right thing to do, and I wanted to help give them the best chance that I could. And they surprised me again with their heart and resiliency.”
On the gratification of UCF getting the win:
“Yeah, it makes it all worth it. I hold my head high because through this whole process and decisions … I tried to do everything the right way the best that I knew how. It was the right thing to do to come coach these guys. I’m not happy for me. I’m so happy for these guys. I told them in the locker room, this was an 0-12 group when I got there, and they looked like they weren’t having any fun and didn’t care about each other. We had a long way to go, and to think that they are sitting here Peach Bowl champions and 13-0 in two years, I couldn’t be happier for them.
“Yeah, I told them it’s onward and upward from here for UCF. I expect to turn on the TV and watch them keep getting better and keep winning, and I look forward to going and hopefully turning another group of guys into the same type of family that has love for each other like these guys do.”
On the defensive game plan:
“You know, I thought we could have played a lot better on offense in the first half. We missed some chances, uncharacteristic for us. They have great defense, and they have future NFL guys at every position. Defense kept us in that one early and then offense hits its stride when it needed to.
“This guy over here was playing like his dreadlocks were on fire [Monday]. Every time I looked up, he was running somebody down and making a play and making a sack. A lot of credit to Coach [Erik] Chinander and his staff and that group of guys on defense. I told them before the game they needed to play harder than Auburn and they did.”
On what the game ball means to Frost:
“You know, a memory, I’m going to have a ton of memories from this place. UCF has been unbelievable to me. Having my first child was incredible and then getting to spend time around guys like this all season and watching them have the success that they had. It will be hard for me to ever top 2017.”
On what Frost will tell his kid about this team:
“These guys will all still know him when he gets older because I expect to stay in touch with guys like this as long as I live.
“You know, I love looking at other people’s pictures of big moments in their lives with their children, and that was special for me to hold him.
“Listen, I’ll get heat for saying this, but if I’m a recruiter out there, I want to come play at UCF. It’s an incredible campus, it’s an incredible opportunity. They are going to come in and play with some unbelievable human beings and football players and if I’m a recruiter out there, I want to come to Nebraska and play for this group of men that made this happen.
“I’m going to be a fan of both, do everything I can for the guys at UCF and do everything I can at Nebraska, and I can’t wait to watch what both programs can accomplish.”
Schedule you in our kickoff game, UCF against Nebraska —
“Pump your brakes, pump your brakes.” (Laughter)
On Shaquem Griffin being ready for the NFL:
“Yes, whoever gets him is going to be lucky. Listen, I had some crackpot dynamite reporter from Auburn at the first press conference ask me how in the heck we are going to possibly throw the ball when they keep a lid on their coverage, and who’s the best pass rusher you’ve ever played against and how are you going to stop [him]. This is the best pass rush that offense has played against. This guy is unbelievable.
“One hand, two hands, two foot, three feet, I don’t care, I want him on my team and whatever team drafts him is going to be lucky to have him.”