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Hurricane Matthew threatens Florida college games

Florida Football Insiders

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As Hurricane Matthew threatens the eastern side of Florida and eventually the southern Atlantic Coast Friday through Saturday night, there are safety concerns everywhere.

And then there’s scheduled college football in our state and elsewhere that may be affected.

As of Tuesday afternoon, here’s the latest from the National Hurricane Center on Matthew’s path:

Now, any Floridian knows that Hurricane projections beyond 48 hours are mostly useless. It’s educated guess work with computer models, etc.  And that still photo projection above will change every few hours. We will all have a better idea of Matthew’s path for Thursday, tomorrow. Likewise for Friday, the day before.

We know with the threat to the state of South Carolina for Saturday Governor Nikki Haley has ordered a million people already to evacuate Wednesday through Friday just in case. And she said Tuesday afternoon, “I don’t see how” the South Carolina home game with Georgia scheduled for Saturday night will be played, as scheduled.

Nothing official on that yet.

Here’s what we know for Florida college games: the UCF home game with Tulane for Friday night is the most likely the only college game in the state that could be affected, delayed, etc.

The Gators vs. LSU game in Gainesville and the USF game with East Carolina in Tampa are both at noon Saturday. That should be well after Hurricane Matthew is gone out the area. And also, Tampa being on the west central coast is not expected to be bothered really at all.

Also, FSU at Miami is a Saturday night game at 8 p.m. and likewise the Hurricane should be long gone and shouldn’t affect it.

Back to Friday and UCF in Orlando, especially if Matthew slows down Wednesday or Thursday, the school is already preparing for contingencies:

Never dull in Florida in Hurricane season. Stay tuned.

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Zach Lauer
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UCF Knights

UCF thrilling win over Memphis scored ratings for ABC/ESPN

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s thrilling 31 – 30 win by UCF at Memphis to keep their unbeaten season alive scored a significant overnight rating for ABC/ESPN.

The Knights 13-point comeback win ended up registering a combined 2.2 national rating along with the split broadcast of the Washington-Oregon Pac-12 Showdown. The games were shown on a split feed of ABC/ESPN depending on if you were in the eastern or western half of the country.

ESPN frequently does split the feed of the games to maximize regional viewership. The 2.2 rating is solid and typical of that slot.

For example, it defeated the stand-alone national broadcast by NBC of Notre Dame’s comeback win over Pitt. That registered a 2.1 national rating Saturday afternoon, though NBC started that game an hour earlier than UCF-Memphis.

Likewise, number 1 Alabama’s blowout win over Missouri was a standalone game in prime time on ESPN everywhere in the country and with less competition at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Still, it received the same 2.2 rating as the Knights game.

The CBS broadcast of LSU’s upset of Georgia, which was on at the same time as UCF, won the weekend with a staggering 3.7 overnight rating. That is tremendous for a daytime slot on a network and with the volume of competition of televised college afternoon games.

For comparison, that CBS rating was up 68% from the same slot a year ago, which had Auburn playing LSU. And it narrowly defeated the national prime time ABC broadcast of Michigan-Wisconsin which got a 3.6 rating.

Back to UCF, which has a 19 game win streak at the moment and a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback in McKenzie Milton, that solid rating and those story lines mean that the Knights will likely be featured again by ABC/ESPN coming up.

The 2017 UCF Knights already delivered two tremendous television ratings for ABC/ESPN.

This included their Friday after Thanksgiving thrilling win over rival USF, which was the highest rated over the air daytime college football broadcast of the season. “The War on I-4” was shown nationally, as a standalone game on ABC without much competition.

Further, the Knights upset of Auburn in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s afternoon, also saw a huge increases and Records for ESPN. UCF going for a perfect season and playing an SEC opponent helped greatly.

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UCF Knights

Former UCF star-Vikings DB Mike Hughes has torn ACL

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings fears for first round pick and former UCF Knights defensive back Mike Hughes were realized Monday, when an MRI revealed he tore his ACL in Sunday’s game.

Hughes was injured in the fourth quarter of the Vikings 27 – 17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Coach Mike Zimmer confirmed the ACL tear and announced at his Monday news conference that Hughes will go on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the Season:

Hughes was taken at the end of the first round in April’s draft after starring as part of the Knight’s perfect 13 – 0 season a year ago.

Hughes was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference with 44 tackles and four interceptions and a team-high 11 pass breakups during that season. His most memorable moment was the game-winning kickoff return touchdown in the final moments of UCF thrilling win over rival USF to finish a perfect 11 – 0 regular season

Hughes had started two games so far this year for the Vikings, and even had an interception return for a touchdown (above) in the opening win over the San Francisco 49ers. He also showed some flashes in the NFL as a return specialist, including a 46-yard kickoff return in the second game of the year with the Green Bay Packers.

Hughes made Seven tackles in the Vikings national television Thursday night loss 38 – 31 to the Rams a couple of weeks ago.

It is the second straight year that a prominent Vikings draft pick has been lost with an ACL injury on the turf at the Vikings home, U.S. Bank Stadium. Last year, second round pick, running back Dalvin Cook of FSU, also suffered a torn ACL  early in the season.

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UCF Knights

Gutsy call by UCF coach Heupel fuels comeback win at Memphis

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David Butler II- USA Today Sports

Sometimes dramatic crazy games come down to one play or one call. And a lot of times they come down to such a call at the end of the game. On Saturday in Memphis, UCF Coach Josh Heupel pulled out a truly gutsy-almost crazy 4th Down call.

And the resulting touchdown turned out to be the biggest play of UCF’s heart stopping 31-30 win over the Tigers.

Memphis clearly had the 10th ranked and unbeaten Knights on the ropes down 30-17. Running back Darrell Henderson had run for over 150 yards and a couple of scores late in the third quarter.

The Knights and Star Quarterback McKenzie Milton were struggling to get anything going. Rain was falling making the conditions even worse at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Then the first time-first year head coach, decided to roll the dice, BiG TIME.

Facing fourth-and-one at his own 29-yard line with just under 3 minutes remaining in the third, Heupel initially left his offense out and lined up to go for the first down, but then, took a time out.

However, out of that timeout Heupel sent the offense and Milton back on the field and this was the result:

With 310 lb. defensive tackle Tristyan Hill leading the way, equally bulky running back Taj McGowan rumbled 71 yards for the game-changing touchdown on a play that will be talked about for years in UCF-lore.

Yes, there was a whole 4th quarter still to play, and Milton eventually led the go-ahead touchdown drive scoring himself on a leaping run into the endzone.

Yes, the Tigers still had two different chances to get into field-goal range, including in the final seconds of the game. Yet, the UCF defense stopped them.

Nevertheless, the play of this game was that 4th Down call resulting in that momentum-changing touchdown at a time in which UCF was perhaps on the verge of getting knocked out. And their unbeaten streak was clearly hanging int he balance, and a loss for the first time in almost two calendar years was becoming reality.

Instead, it’s 6-0 and 19 straight wins.

Coaches often get criticized for being conservative.

No one can ever accuse Heupel of being that kind of coach, ever again, after the decision he made on fourth down, deep in his own territory to swing the momentum, and help his team beat Memphis.

Guts doesn’t say enough.

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