Scott Frost’s last act as UCF’s head coach was to beat a team that was one win away from making the College Football Playoff the same season.
Frost’s Knights held on for a 34-27 win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl to finish 13-0 in Frost’s second and final season with the program. He’ll now officially relocate to Lincoln full-time as Nebraska’s coach, but his Knights went out with a bang.
Nebraska fans already knew they got a home-run hire in Frost. But man, this looks good on his resume.
Nebraska finished 4-8 this season. A loss to Northern Illinois, albeit a good Northern Illinois, was a stain on the early part of Mike Riley’s final season in Lincoln. Meanwhile, Frost’s Knights were steamrolling everyone in sight. The only knock possible against UCF was that it only played an AAC schedule. Memphis and South Florida were both good to excellent in 2017, but in the eyes of a casual fan, it’s easy to see how those wins could be discounted. A win over Auburn, a team that made it to the SEC Championship Game as one of the top four teams in the College Football Playoff rankings only to fall down to No. 7 after losing to Georgia, can’t be discounted by anyone.
Even more important than the win was how UCF accomplished it
Heading into the game, you were right to focus on UCF’s offense, not its defense. S&P+ graded the Knights as having the No. 2 offense and No. 78 defense in the country. Pass-rusher Shaquem Griffin was UCF’s star player, but Frost’s high-octane offense led by QB McKenzie Milton was putting up 54 points per game. So naturally, UCF started out slow against Auburn’s fierce defensive front. The Knights’ defense held steady while it waited for the offense to get going, registering 5 first-half sacks of QB Jarrett Stidham.
The halftime score was 16-3 in favor of UCF. Then when Auburn’s offense came alive, UCF’s emerged to match its SEC opponent. The Tigers ended the third quarter with a Kerryon Johnson touchdown run, and UCF responded with three straight scores to take a 34-20 lead. Auburn scored once more, but Antwan Collier’s interception in the final minute clinched a UCF win.
Now, Frost can head to Nebraska knowing he helped UCF emphatically cross the finish line
Frost is bringing his whole staff from UCF to Nebraska, but wanted to coach the bowl game to finish a remarkable UCF season.
“This is all about the 2017 season and what these young men have accomplished,” offensive coordinator Troy Walters said Friday. “We want to finish. That’s been the focus. As a staff we’ve been all in. We’ve been 100 percent committed to these guys, and we want to finish what we started. So those guys know that this is all about the 2017 season, the 2017 team, and finishing what we started.”