McKenzie Milton, playing in his first game since a cataclysmic leg injury took steps to end his career almost three years prior, drove Florida State back from a 10-direct shortage toward power additional time against No. 9 Notre Dame on Sunday night.
The Seminoles’ upset bid missed the mark in OT as Notre Dame’s Jonathan Doerer kicked a 41-yard field goal to get the 41-38 success.
Milton entered the game in the final quarter when starter Jordan Travis lost his cap and had to make a beeline for the sideline. Milton’s first play went for a 22-yard fruition to Ja’Khi Douglas.
He finished three additional passes on the drive that finished with a 2-yard touchdown run to Treshaun Ward. Milton stayed in the game through the finish of regulation and into overtime.
“It was one of those bang-bang moments,” Milton said of being told he was going in. “You just got to be engaged and ready to go on the sidelines. It was time to roll. I didn’t really have time to process any of the emotions or things like that. A job had to be done to give us a chance to win the game, and just came up short.”
After Milton made his first completion, Travis was qualified to return. However, he was enduring spasms, and the staff eventually settled on the choice to stay with Milton. Travis said that approved of him.
“I couldn’t get the smile off my face,” Travis said. “To see him run on the field, it gave me chills. He’s a great dude, I’m so happy to see him on the field performing, and I’m blessed to have him on my team.”
Milton completed the game 5-of-7 passing for 48 yards.
Milton suffered artery and nerve harm, just as a disjoined knee and torn tendons, when he was harmed as the UCF beginning quarterback against USF in late November 2018. His leg was almost excised therefore.
Yet, Milton never abandoned his fantasy to play football by and by, working his direction back to run the scout group at UCF last year. He needed another opportunity to begin, so he moved to Florida State in January. Mentor Mike Norvell made him no guarantees for playing time, yet Milton said he simply needed an opportunity to contend.
“It was three years ago when I was playing ball. I was definitely grateful to be out there playing with the guys,” Milton said. “We went through a lot of hard training through January up to this point. We all got a bunch of bruises. I’m just super proud of the way our guys fought today.”
Milton and Travis were engaged with a quarterback competition all through the spring and fall. The Seminoles at last began Travis against the Irish, however Milton remained prepared on the sideline until his number was called.
“McKenzie’s a great competitor. You never know when that opportunity will present itself. He was ready, prepared well,” Norvell said. “It was great to see him get the opportunity to compete. He’s somebody that you cheer for. A special young man, to see him rise up in that moment, I’m just really proud of him.”
UCF football showed its support for Milton via online media, alongside large numbers of his previous UCF teammates.
Milton had 75 friends and family at the game, including orthopedic surgeon Dr. Bruce Levy, UCF overseer of sports medication/head football athletic coach Mary Vander Heiden, and UCF muscular specialist Dr. Michael Jablonski. None of them would have missed Milton’s miraculous comeback.
“A lot of people would’ve written me off, so thank you to everyone who’s believed in me. To me, we’re just starting,” Milton said.
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