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UCF Knights

Gators at Arkansas headlines our Saturday College Football Primer

Florida Football Insiders



Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire

We’ve reached the month of November and the final four Saturdays of the college football regular season are about to play out. We at FFI have our Tortilla Chips and Guacomole with the extra tablets, phones and T.V. screens ready to go. Let’s preview the Saturday slate for the most prominent teams:

Pitt at Miami 12:30 p.m.

Will our Ari Russell ever see his Canes win again? Four games ago they were 4-0 and now suddenly you are wondering if Miami will finish over .500? Clearly QB Brad Kaaya is struggling with decision making and pocket presence. He’s got to get his act together starting with this match-up. Pitt features RB James Conner, who has battled back from cancer to lead the Panthers offense, and is their best weapon. Will the Hurricanes get their swagger back? Will Pitt send them to an unthinkable 5th straight ACC loss?

Florida at Arkansas 3:30 p.m.

It’s the SEC “co-main event” prior to the prime time Bama at LSU. And, as we laid out earlier this week, the 1-loss Gators are the only state school remaining who has legitimately has a shot at the College Football Playoff, but it is a long shot starting with today in Fayetteville, AR. The Gators handled rival Georgia in Jacksonville last week. Meanwhile, the Hogs, who already have wins over TCU and Ole Miss, are still stinging from being destroyed 56-3 by Auburn two weeks ago. Time to find out what Luke Del Rio and Co. are truly made of in a true road game. The last time the Gators played in one of these (Knoxville in September) they got rocked by the Vols a second half avalanche. Their SEC East hopes are relying on handling it differently.

Tulane at UCF 5 p.m.

This AAC match-up in Orlando is a make-up game from Hurricane Matthew a few weeks ago. The Golden Knights come off a physically and emotionally wild roller coaster game at Houston seven days ago. Scott Frost’s bunch picked Cougar star QB, Greg Ward Jr., three times in the first half and cashed in for a 21-3 lead at the break. That was the good news. The bad news is the played the second half. And Ward played brilliantly leading Houston all the way back to a 31-24 win. UCF QB Mckenzie Milton (shown above) didn’t do much either throwing or running last week, but he’s the top weapon the Knights have. Tulane’s defense is poor and Milton should exploit it. The Green Wave’s lost three straight and best hope is to get some kind of rushing attack behind Dontrell Hilliard going.

and Finally, FSU at NC State 7 p.m.

An ACC showdown for the Noles in Raleigh after their they had their hearts pulled out and stomped on by DeShaun Watson and Clemson in the fourth quarter last Saturday night. The good news for Florida State is NC State is equally reeling and ironically, it started when they missed an easy field goal that would have won them the game at Clemson and lost in OT. Since then, also like the Seminoles, the Pack got “dump trucked” at Louisville and now, last Saturday lost to lowly Boston College who hadn’t won an ACC game likely since Reagan was still in office. (Ok, we wanted to make sure that you were still reading).

With all that written, N.C. State will likely put pressure on Noles QB Deondre Francois and hit him some, etc. (everyone else has) and make this an interesting game. What will likely happen is RB Dalvin Cook will have another explosive game. He’s averaging 168 yards per game over the last five and is FSU’s best weapon.

Four games involving he prominent state schools teams and we’ll be recapping them, as they get done.

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UCF Knights

Knights-QB Milton did their part in UCF Friday night romp

Florida Football Insiders



Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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:

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.

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UCF Knights

Will UCF QB Milton kick-start Heisman talk Friday night?

Florida Football Insiders



Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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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UCF Knights

UCF freshman linebacker charged with sexual battery

Florida Football Insiders



Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first off-field controversy of the UCF football season has happened with the arrest of freshman linebacker Demetrius Mayes on a sexual battery charge.

The alleged incident took place Saturday night in Mayes UCF campus apartment, where a female accuser says Mayes had inappropriate and unwanted sexual contact with her in his bedroom.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the 18 year old freshman from Miami met the accuser at an off-campus party. A UCF campus police report says she woke up undressed in Mayes bedroom, as he was attempting to have sex with her. The accuser went on to tell authorities that Mayes tried to prevent her from leaving the room.

UCF police chief Carl Metzger released a statement Wednesday:

“The UCF Police Department is committed to a thorough, professional investigation of all criminal incidents reported to us, and we’re dedicated to a culture of care that starts by believing the brave survivors who seek our assistance,” Metzger said. “This survivor’s well-being will continue to be a priority for our department and our university.”

As did UCF first-year head coach Josh Heupel:

“This has no place in our program,” Heupel said.”Demetrius Mayes is suspended from all UCF football activities indefinitely. We are focused on ensuring that we provide compassion and support for everyone outside our program that has been affected by this.”

In the report Mayes told police he met the accuser at an off-campus party and took the woman back to his apartment. Mayes says the victim initially consented to sex and that when she told him “I can’t do this,” he stopped, let her get dressed and unlocked the door.

At least one of Mayes roommates, who is an unidentified UCF football player, told the authorities that they tried to warn him he was making a big mistake taking the woman into his bedroom. Apparently, that roommate and others were banging on Mayes bedroom door trying to break up what was going on.

They told UCF police that the accuser exited the bedroom crying and upset.

Mayes was a star at Miami’s Northwestern High School a year ago, where they won the 6A state championship, but he had not played in the first two UCF games against Uconn and South Carolina State.

The Knights did not play last weekend, because their game with North Carolina was canceled by Hurricane Florence.

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