ORLANDO, Fla. — Otis Anderson got a little down on himself after committing a costly turnover in the third quarter.
The freshman bounced back in a hurry.
Anderson had a spectacular 65-yard touchdown run in the final period, helping No. 14 Central Florida pull away from UConn for a 49-24 victory on Saturday.
“After I scored I kind of perked back up and brought back what I usually have,” said Anderson, who finished with 84 yards and two TDs. “My game went from up to down to up so I felt like I had a great game.”
UCF, the highest ranked non-Power 5 school, remained in prime position for a spot in a New Year’s Six bowl. McKenzie Milton completed 24 of 36 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns for the Knights (9-0, 6-0 American Athletic Conference, CFP, No. 18), and Tre’Quan Smith finished with seven catches for 120 yards.
But UCF’s potent offense struggled for much of the day, hurt by turnovers, penalties and poor execution. UCF failed to score in the third, just the second time this season the Knights went scoreless in a quarter.
“When you look up and you didn’t have best day but you have 49 points those are good problems,” UCF coach Scott Frost said. “We can play a lot better but I think the guys made enough plays.”
David Pindell passed for 201 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a score for UConn (3-7, 2-5), but the Huskies were unable to keep up with the high-scoring Knights. Pindell was inserted into the starting lineup in place of the injured Bryant Shirreffs.
Pindell’s 9-yard touchdown run made it 28-17 early in the second half. But UCF responded with three straight touchdowns in the fourth.
“They’re a good football team,” UConn coach Randy Edsall said. “I thought we gave ourselves a chance at 28-17 when we got that fumble. I thought that took the air out of them.”
Anderson’s second TD run made it 35-17 with 14:11 to go. Milton added a 4-yard touchdown run, and Noah Vedral’s 35-yard TD pass to Cam Stewart made it 49-17 with 7:03 left.
UConn didn’t score again until Pindell’s 22-yard TD pass to Aaron McLean with 36 seconds left.
Some of the UCF players admitted they may have relaxed after jumping out to a 21-3 lead by the end of the first quarter. But Anderson’s touchdown in the fourth quarter seemed to wake the team back up.
“It was good to see him (Otis Anderson) go out there and make up for that play,” Frost said. “It was great to see him get redemption with that long touchdown — that play was key in this ballgame.”
UConn: Pindell, a junior college transfer, was benched after starting the season opener. His dual-threat ability gave the Huskies the spark that they needed.
UCF: The Knights must improve their run defense if they hope to win the AAC title and make it to a New Year’s Six bowl. The Huskies finished with 212 yards rushing.
UConn: The Huskies step out of conference play to take on Boston College on Saturday.
UCF: The Knights travel to Temple on Saturday for their final league road game.