Five months ago, McKenzie Milton was still in school at Mililani finishing up his senior year.
In that short span of time, he’s gone from record-setting Trojans quarterback to the No. 1 starting quarterback option at Central Florida.
UPDATE: UCF head coach Scott Frost said Monday that Milton is UCF’s starting quarterback “moving forward.”
Milton started his third game of the season Saturday in a 26-25 loss to Temple. He finished 13-for-22 for 210 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. He also scored on a 63-yard TD run. It was the second-longest touchdown run by a UCF quarterback, trailing three-time NFL Pro Bowler Daunte Culpepper.
Milton, who as reported by the Orlando Sentinel missed the East Carolina game two weeks ago with an ankle injury, returned to the starting lineup after a bye week. He capped the Knights’ opening drive of the game with a 55-yard touchdown pass and threw an 11-yard TD pass early in the second quarter. His touchdown run came with 12:34 remaining in the first half to give UCF a 25-7 lead, but the Knights were held scoreless the rest of the game.
Milton is completing 58.3 percent (42-for-72) of his passes for 643 yards, five touchdowns and two picks in three games and has apparently won the battle against Justin Holman (28-66, 368 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT) for the starting job.
UCF (3-3, 1-1 American Conference) plays at UConn (3-4, 1-3) this Saturday.
MORE HAWAII GROWN
>> UNLV senior linebacker Tau Lotulelei, a 2012 Maui High alumnus, was named the Mountain West Conference defensive player of the week on Monday. Lotulelei, who leads the Rebels with 61 tackles and was named to the All-MWC second team last season, had seven tackles and forced a fumble that led to the game-winning field goal in a 41-38 victory over Hawaii on Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
>> Washington State defensive end Hercules Mata’afa, a 2014 Lahainaluna graduate, made seven tackles with one for a loss in a 27-21 win over UCLA on Saturday. The Cougars are 4-0 since losing their first two games of the season to Eastern Washington and Boise State and are one of only two Pac-12 teams left undefeated in league play. Mata’afa currently leads the Pac-12 with 9 1/2 tackles for loss, averaging 1.58 per game.
>> Utah senior defensive tackle Pasoni Tasini, a 2012 Baldwin High alumnus, is tied for fourth in the Pac-12 with 7 1/2 tackles for loss, averaging 1.07 per game.
>> Clemson defensive tackle Scott Pagano, a 2013 Moanalua alumnus, has started three of the last five games for the No. 3-ranked Tigers and has registered 23 tackles with 3 1/2 tackles for loss and two sacks this season. Pagano made two of his three tackles behind the line of scrimmage with one sack in a 24-17 overtime win over N.C. State on Saturday.
>> Oregon State linebacker Manase Hungalu, a 2013 Kealakehe alumnus, and defensive lineman Kalani Vakamailalo, a 2014 graduate of Kapolei, combined to make 20 tackles in a 19-14 loss to Utah on Saturday. Hungalu had 13 tackles and broke up a pass while Vakamailalo had seven tackles, including a fourth-down stop late in the game to allow the Beavers to get the ball back for one final possession. Hungalu ranks fourth in the Pac-12 averaging 8.6 tackles per game.
>> Washington outside linebacker Psalm Wooching, a 2012 Kealakehe graduate, currently ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with 4 1/2 sacks.
>> San Diego State starting linebacker Ronley Lakalaka, a 2015 Punahou graduate, made three tackles and Dakota Turner, a 2013 Mililani graduate, had four tackles in a 17-3 win over Fresno State on Friday. Turner, who is listed as a fullback, recently changed positions back to defensive end. Lakalaka is sixth on the team with 23 tackles and has one interception this season.
For more Hawaii Grown notes about Hawaii athletes in football, volleyball, golf and soccer, check out Wednesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.