ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Central Florida got to host two former UCF football players as the Bounce House played backdrop to the 2022 Hula Bowl. This was the first season that the Hula Bowl wasn’t played in Hawaii, as their normal venue, Aloha Stadium, is currently under reconstruction for repairs and upgrades.
That allowed for an amazing moment as the former UCF quarterback returned to the Bounce House for the first time since a four touchdown performance against Cincinnati on November 17, 2018. Blocking for him was another former UCF player, offensive lineman Cole Schneider who has entered his name into the 2022 NFL Draft.
The game had significantly more fans than the average Hula Bowl, with the benefits of being played on the mainland of the United States, as well as Milton’s legendary status at UCF and in Hawaii. Milton opened the game as quarterback for Team Aina, with a quick nine yard pass, but after a decent drive Team Kai was able to hold them on fourth down and forced a punt. Milton then had a 17 yard completion before former Wake Forest kicker Nick Sciba broke the deadlock with a 52 yard field goal for Team Aina. Team Aina continued their strong start early in the second quarter, when former Oregon quarterback Anthony Brown found former Youngstown State tight end Andrew Ogletree in the back of the endzone for a six yard touchdown.
Team Kai’s offense finally got some momentum going just before halftime with former Toledo running back Bryant Koback scoring on a four yard run up the middle. Then an interception by former Georgia Tech safety Tariq Carpenter, set up former Virginia Tech running back Raheem Blackshear to score and give Team Kai a 14 to 10 lead entering the half. As the third quarter went on Team Kai continued to press on defense, and that pressure paid off when the former San Diego State cornerback intercepted a pass from former Illinois quarterback Brandon Peters and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown. Just a little while later though, Peters found former Washington State slot receiver Travell Harris behind the defense for a 72 yard touchdown pass.
Sciba hit another field goal to put Team Aina down by one point, but both teams shared great defensive performances to end the game. Milton returned and despite an amazing scramble that got Team Aina fired up, he just couldn’t connect downfield, as his final collegiate pass was intercepted by former Virginia safety Joey Blount. Despite the interception, fans continued chanting “Milton” in honor of the quarterback and bounced around to the song “Kernkraft 400” by German producer Florian Senfter which has become a tradition at UCF home games.
Milton was asked about the fans chanting his name after the game saying, “It’s special, we came a long way from the Cure Bowl where they were booing me. Thank you to Knight Nation for coming out today, it was a lot of fun.” Schneider also talked to the media, answering what it meant to have Milton as his quarterback again, “It’s just awesome to have him behind you calling the shots. The motivation is definitely there and he makes you want to play hard for him.”
Milton and Schneider stayed after the game to take pictures with fans and sign autographs, with Schneider receiving a lei from the 2018 American Athletic Conference championship game, which honored Milton after his gruesome injury against South Florida just a week prior. Milton was still at The Bounce House an hour after the game’s end with the line of people waiting for his time, being around 1,000 people.
Now Milton and Schneider will continue draft preparations, with Milton pursuing clearance from contact activities without his supportive knee brace. He looks to join a fairly successful duo of Knights’ quarterbacks in the NFL, in first round draft picks Blake Bortles and Daunte Culpepper. Schneider meanwhile is looking to become only the third offensive lineman drafted from UCF, joining the likes of Mike Mabry and Super Bowl champion Josh Sitton.