It’s that time of year- Hurricane season, but in this case it’s not a September one aimed at our state, but rather a powerful one that is headed for the Carolinas later this week that has great concern.
As of Monday afternoon, Hurricane Florence is now at 130 mph, and gaining steam. Further, it’s expected to be a powerful “Category Four” storm and expected to do major damage with wind, rain and flooding to the East coast. The current “cone” or predicted path, has Florence making landfall late Thursday evening through Friday morning anywhere from South Carolina to North Carolina to Virginia.
State of Emergencies have been declared. And, evacuations are already taking place.
Now, with the understanding that sports is obviously distant on the priority list, there is still a full slate of college football that is scheduled to be played in that region. This will be starting with Thursday night’s Wake Forest/Boston College ACC game scheduled for Winston-Salem in the middle of North Carolina. It’s probably a matter of time before the ACC moves that game to a different location, if possible, or postpones it, for now.
And, on the Saturday schedule at noon Eastern? UCF is supposed to be traveling to Chapel Hill, NC, (more in the East of the state) to play the Tarheels.
It’s safe to say that every game in the region is at best going to be moved, if not completely cancelled.
This is something that the entire state of Florida dealt with, as game after game was postponed or outright cancelled a year ago because of Hurricane Irma.
The Knights also ended up cancelling their home game with Georgia Tech the following week.
Now, we go back to this weekend.
As it’s a non-conference game, it will UNC’s call primarily as to what to do, in consultation with the authorities and also, for UCF to travel safely.
Certainly, the ACC could steps to help move the UNC game to another location, however, that’s not likely.
At his Sunday afternoon news conference, Knights head coach Josh Heupel was asked about what he knew about the game still being played or not?
“We’re preparing and practicing like we’re in game-week mode. We’re obviously concerned with everybody in that area with the potential of the hurricane moving in.” -Heup pic.twitter.com/J30lj7LYbE
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) September 10, 2018
“(I) Have no idea what’s going to end up happening with the Hurricane itself, much less the game. So, you just go on preparing as is,” Heupel told the media.
Well, now there is a much better idea of the storm bearing down on that region
If you are wondering, the Knights (October 27th) and North Carolina (October 6th) do not have a mutual off date. So, that complicates the game being made up and jeopardizes it being played altogether.
And for N.C. State in nearby Raleigh, they have an ACC home game with top 10 West Virginia Saturday, and Clemson is hosting Georgia Southern and on and on.
It’s a watch and wait situation, but unless the Heels have an alternate location well to East etc., then the that’s not really going to be an option.
So, the Knights are looking at the possibility of losing a “Power Five” match-up for the second straight year due to a Hurricane.
Six TD performance lands UCF QB Milton American Player of Week
After an unexpected week off due to Hurricane Florence, UCF and quarterback McKenzie Milton wanted to make a statement last Friday night on ESPN against FAU. And the Knights, with Milton at the controls did not fail to deliver in a 56-36 romp.
The junior from Hawaii accounted for the first six touchdowns UCF scored in the game, as this one was over by the end of the third quarter. Now, Milton has earned American Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
They made it official late Monday morning:
After having a hand in six touchdowns and finishing with 389 yards of total offense to lead the Knights to their conference-record 16th straight victory, @UCFFootball's McKenzie Milton is the #AmericanFB Offensive Player of the Week.
— American Football (@American_FB) September 24, 2018
Milton, who still has a legitimate shot to get into the Heisman Trophy conversation, shows no signs of letting up in terms of being able to score with his arm and with his wheels. He had 306 yards passing and another 81 yards rushing, as UCF’s offense overwhelmed the Owls.
It’s already the second time that Milton has gotten the award in 2018 having also been American Player of the Week after the opening conference game blowout at UConn. That night he threw for 356 yards and five touchdowns in the win over the Huskies.
Friday night’s win kept the nation’s longest winning streak of 16 games, in tact.
Now, Milton and UCF have a chance to get more credibility, when they take on Pitt out of the ACC on Saturday at Spectrum Stadium at 3:30.
Knights-QB Milton did their part in UCF Friday night romp
it was a “points bonanza,” as advertised in Orlando Friday night, and in the end, UCF and it’s leader looked the part of conference champ and playoff contender. This as the Knights cruised to a 56-36 easy win over in state Florida Atlantic.
We wondered if Friday would restart the Heisman Trophy hopes of QB McKenzie Milton and he delivered on a National TV stage big time and early. Milton threw or ran for the Knights first six touchdowns of the game, including this one in the third quarter, where he juked half of the Owls on the field:
— Leger Douzable (@LegerDouzable) September 22, 2018
The junior from Hawaii finished with 387 yards from scrimmage and is definitely one of best dual threat QBs in America that will continue to garner attention.
FAU hung in the game for awhile, largely based on their star RB Devin Singletary. Singletary, the CUSA Offensive Player of the Year, ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns, as FAU was tied at halftime.
Still, the Knights who haven’t lost a game in 600 days, notched another victory in the nation’s longest win streak. They now have 16 straight games dating back to their December bowl loss in 2016.
And if you think UCF’s squad didn’t have some fun on a Friday night in front of over 44,000 at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, think again. After the 20 point win, it was time to dance:
We win. We dance 😁 pic.twitter.com/UfikBDzXQN
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) September 22, 2018
UCF will get a tougher test from Pitt out of the ACC next week, and then later in October, will play a huge American conference regular season road game at Memphis. The Tigers are arguably the best team in the West division and want to avenge having lost both meetings to UCF in 2017. The Knights won a thrilling double OT Championship Game in Orlando last December to lock in a bid to the Peach Bowl.
That’s where they famously stunned SEC powerhouse Auburn earlier this year on New Year’s day.
Back to the 2018 squad, coach Josh Heupel and staff had to deal with an unexpected bye week after Hurricane Florence cancelled their game at North Carolina last Saturday. Needless to say, they had UCF ready for this one.
And, that usually means Milton was ready to show college football he’s one of the players in the game.
He didn’t disappoint, again, Friday.
Will UCF QB Milton kick-start Heisman talk Friday night?
With the understanding that quarterbacks of powerhouse programs like Tua Tagovailoa, Trace McSorley, and Will Grier will be getting most of the national hype throughout the seaason, in our state we know that UCF QB McKenzie Milton deserves to be consider for the Heisman, too.
The junior signal-caller for the Knights has been a bit victimized by the early part of the season and the schedule. First, Milton did get off to a tremendous start in UCF’s opening win at UConn, where he fired five touchdown passes in basically three quarters during a blowout win.
However, the following week against South Carolina State he was not sharp with a couple of early interceptions and even though UCF won impressively, Milton’s numbers of 243 yards, one touchdown and three picks jumped off the page, as a negative.
He and the Knights were looking to ramp the offense back up last weekend in a game against a Power 5 program on the road in North Carolina. But, as you probably know by now, Hurricane Florence wiped out that game, and it will not be made up.
So, it seems as though Milton’s Heisman hype which began back in the summer, has stalled out.
Well, now comes a Friday night showdown with cross-state rival FAU and something very important: national television exposure on a weeknight. You see, for a lot of the media and in particular Heisman voters, Milton’s games are not going to trump ones for Alabama, Penn State Ohio State, and the other Blue Blood programs that they would rather watch. It’s harsh, but it’s true.
So, this is an opportunity for him to light it up against an Owls defense and then, be seen and remembered for it.
FAU was bombed by Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray in their opening blowout loss in Norman, OK, Labor Day weekend. And, coach Lane Kiffin has to be fearful that more of the same may be coming from the potent Knights offense.
Yes, being a shootout with FAU may be possible because they boast running back Devin “Motor” Singletary, who was the CUSA Offensive Player of the Year in 2017.
So, it may be to Milton’s benefit, if FAU can score some in this game keep it close, and Milton gets a chance to play four full quarters and do it well.
If he’s going to make up ground on Tagovailoa and McSorley in particular, who are on national television almost every game, then that’s what Milton is going to have to take advantage of opportunities present themselves.
Friday night at Spectrum Stadium is one such opportunity for Milton and his Knights teammates.
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