It’s a prime-time showdown for the UCF Knights in the Queen City of Cincinnati and head coach Scott Frost knows the mental challenge will be as difficult, as the physical one.
With that in mind, here’s what we’re watching.
Can they stand prosperity?
A week ago UCF routed Memphis at home and have been ranked in the AP Poll for the first time since 2013. Further, they are heavily favored to beat the Bearcats to start the season at 4-0, which would match 1988 and their best start in program history.
“We’re pretending the first three games never happened, because we’ve got an eight-game season in front of us,” Frost said post-game last week. Earlier this week, he added, “We’re not going to talk about any of that stuff. In fact, I asked the players what their record was this morning. and they knew the answer. It’s 0-0.” He continued, “I asked them where we were ranked and they said, ‘We’re not.'”
Frost may be getting the right answers, but let’s see how sharp his guys are at the beginning of this one, when they are clearly the better team.
Will UCF continue the offensive explosion?
In their three wins over FIU, Maryland and Memphis, the Knights offense has emassed 17 TDs, and this includes dual threat QB McKenzie Milton throwing for eight of them and being ranked in the top 10 nationally in touchdown passes.
We also wrote earlier in the week about speedster Adrian Killins who is one of the fastest players in college football and after his record breaking run against Memphis last week, and how he was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week.
Cincinnati, under first year head coach Luke Fickell has allowed 36 points to Michigan, 42 to Navy and 38 more to Marshall last week in their three losses.
Finally, who’s the QB for Cincy?
Bearcats junior starter Hayden Moore has had an inconsistent start to 2017 and has only a 53% completion percentage with nine TDs and four INTs. Cincy has another option in sophomore Ross Trail who they wanted to get some playing time early in the season, but he has been limited by an abdominal strain.
Trail has finally been able to practice this week. And, if Moore, who’s started or played significantly in 15 games over his three years, is ineffective, then Trail will likely get some time at the helm.