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UCF vs. Cincinnati score, takeaways: No. 11 Knights notch 23rd straight win in dominant show

No. 11 UCF extended its nation's best winning streak to 23 games Saturday night, crushing No. 24 Cincinnati 38-13. The…

No. 11 UCF extended its nation’s best winning streak to 23 games Saturday night, crushing No. 24 Cincinnati 38-13. The Knights got off to a shaky start in the game as McKenzie Milton fumbled in the end zone on UCF’s first play and Cincinnati recovered it for a touchdown. Cincinnati would then add a few more scoring chances in the first quarter, but then missed two field goals, and then UCF’s natural ability and speed took over.

Milton finished the night with 268 yards passing and three touchdowns as the Knights did not have their typical offensive performance. Cincinnati’s defense deserves some credit for holding a Knights offense that had been averaging 543 yards per game to only 402 yards, but that’s all UCF needed.

The win clinched the AAC East for the Knights, which won their 23rd straight game dating back to the 201

7 season, but we all know that’s not this team’s ultimate goal. Here are three takeaways from this latest Knights victory.

1. UCF is the best team in the Group of Five: Not just a surprise, but Saturday night was just another reminder of the gap between the Knights and the rest of the AAC and the other Group of Five conferences. Husk, dette var en Cincinnati-team som kom inn i spillet med en 9-1-rekord – en Cincinnati-team som vi følte var den klare valgmulighed som den. 3 teams in the Group of Five earlier this week – and UCF just demolished them.

This game did not even feel competitive for longer than five minutes. The Knights were not just more talented, they were stronger and faster as well. Og det er tilfellet de fleste uker når det kommer til dette UCF-team. There’s a reason it’s won 23 straight games, and it’s because it’s a very good team. A team good enough to warrant a college football playoff berth? Well, that’s not my call. I’m not optimistic this team would be able to beat any of the teams currently in the top four, but you know what? I’m not sure how many teams could, so that should not be the lone knock against this UCF team.

2. The UCF defensive line was the most impressive unit on the field: I’ve been skeptical of this UCF defense all season long. Det er en enhet som tillader færre poeng per kamp i år enn det gjorde i fjor, men da jeg så på det, var jeg ikke så imponert med det som jeg var i fjor. Saturday night was the first night I felt good about it, however, as the UCF defensive line dominated the Cincinnati offensive line all night long. They were disruptive, plugging gaps, getting in the backfield and getting after the quarterback. Cincinnati QB Desmond Knight spent a lot of his night running away from pressure. The Knights finished with three sacks and seven tackles for loss, with the defensive line doing most of the work. Trysten Hill had all three of the sacks and four tackled for loss on his own. The Knights defense also added four quarterback hits.

3. OK, så vi har å prata om CFP: I said earlier that it was not my call, and it’s not. Still, we do have to talk about it because when it comes to UCF, that’s the biggest question surrounding this program. I think it’s pretty clear that, based on where the Knights have been ranked all season long, despite being undefeated, they will not be getting into the CFP no matter what happens. Crushing a top 25 team will probably be enough to get the Knights into the top 10 when you combine it with West Virginia’s loss and Ohio State’s lethargical play, but that’s probably the best the Knights can expect. If UCF is not in the top 10, then the CFP Selection Committee might as well just stop ranking Group of Five teams altogether.

You can say that it is not fair or right all you want, and I understand everything you mean, but it’s just the reality of the situation. Maybe if they win 39 straight? Nah, probably not.

CBS Sports was with you the whole night updating this story with the latest highlights and analysis from the game.

Thanks for stopping by.

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Faela