Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham hasn't decided plan for 2018

Jan 02, 2018, 06:20
Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham hasn't decided plan for 2018

Quarterback McKenzie Milton was outstanding the second half for Central Florida with 212 of his 242 passing yards and two touchdowns.

With 2:18 remaining, UCF's Matthew Wright missed a 38-yard field goal, giving the Tigers an opening for their last-gasp drive, which ended with the interception. That mindset ultimately helped Auburn overcome two losses and all the adversity that went along with them to reach the SEC Championship game.

Adrian Killins, the Knights' leading rusher with 762 yards and 10 touchdowns, gave the Tigers a little bulletin-board material when he said that Auburn "hasn't seen any speed like we have".

UCF may not be playing in either of tonight's College Football Playoff semifinals, but at least one person considers the Knights national champions.

They play in the American Athletic Conference, which doesn't get almost the same respect from playoff number crunchers as the power conference.

"Undefeated! Undefeated! " screamed UCF fans after the game.

Auburn (11-3), trying to beat an undefeated team for the third time in its past five games, instead was beaten in Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the second consecutive game after nearly a month ago falling to Georgia in the SEC championship.

Kerryon Johnson's 4-yard run climaxed an 80-yard drive the next time Auburn got the ball, putting the Tigers ahead.

The Knights thought they deserved a higher ranking after winning the American Athletic Conference and leading the nation in scoring, and they made a strong statement by beating Auburn (10-4). Will Auburn, which fell just short at a shot have the playoff, have the motivation to beat a team in UCF that is treating this like the biggest game of its season? "I gave Darius (Slayton) a go route". The Auburn Tigers ground game is averaging 228.1 yards per contest, and Kerryon Johnson leads the way with 1,320 yards and 17 touchdowns. So you know, it's been good having him back healthy and everything. "They have some exotics, third-down exotic blitz packages and things where you've got to really be on point and obviously we didn't do a good job of picking some of those things up". It doesn't matter if this team was winless just two seasons ago.

"The first half was very uncharacteristic", Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. Nebraska, which hired UCF head coach Scott Frost who stayed on to coach the Knights in this final game, agrees.

"I've got to think about the positives and negatives and all that stuff", he said. Basically, win or lose, everybody has just 24 hours to react to the previous game before focus is shifted to the next opponent on the schedule.

The Auburn offense got going after halftime, though, and for a while appeared to take control.

Jarrett Stidham completed 28 of 44 passes for 331 yards and one TD, but also threw two critical INTs.

Now, all Auburn needs him to do is bounce back from the loss to Georgia the same way he did after losses at Clemson and LSU.

"We didn't play our best, but you have to give them credit", Malzahn said.

Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been cleared to make his season debut, after missing the first 39 games because of back trouble.

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