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UCF and Hurricanes road battles lead our Saturday primer

Jamil King

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of the college football season has quickly arrived upon us. Every state school is in action with one in-state battle.

The USF Bulls travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon. The Bulls are coming off an embarrassing performance against Wisconsin. After putting up 0 points last week, a lot of pressure will be on the offense. Coach Charlie Strong needs a win today to put out some of the flames that are on the hot seat of his. Tech ran all over the Bulls last season, and even with the new coaching staff in place, will they do it again.

Florida State takes on ULM in a definite must win in Tallahassee. Coach Willie Taggart is coming off another rough loss this time bowing a lead to Boise State. The offense looked much improved, but a lack of energy and good football in the second half was the Noles demise. Last week the Noles got gashed on the ground and ULM running back Josh Johnson is coming off a 173-yard game in week one. In the end, the Noles should take care of business as a -22.5 point favorite.

The Miami Hurricanes travel to Chapel Hill for the first true road game of the season Saturday night. Freshman QB Jarren Williams will get another tough test, but two weeks removed from the Florida loss expect to see a QB that learned from those sacks. The Heels are entering Mack Browns first season back in the program and are coming off a come from behind victory last week VS. South Carolina. With both teams starting freshman QBs defense will play a critical role in this game which happens to be a specialty of Many Diaz.

The Florida Gators will host UT-Martin one of two lower-division games on the schedule. The Gators are 2 weeks removed from the win over the Canes and will look to see a different offense. Coach Dan Mullen and the rest of the staff will want to see an improved Felipe Franks with fewer mistakes. As 45-point favorites at home in the Swamp, expect to see back up QB Emory Jones get action, as well as, the rest of the backups.

FIU will host Western Kentucky in the home opener and first C-USA game for the Panthers. After falling opening night to Tulane, expect James Morgan and company to take care of business tonight. WKU is coming off a week one loss to Central Arkansas.

The UCF Knights will travel south to take on in-state opponent FAU. Last week the Knights rolled over FAMU with no hiccup. The Owls are coming off a loss to Ohio State in Columbus. The Knights used both QBs last week and are expected to do it again tonight. FAU’s defense played a much better second half last week after giving up 28 in the first quarter, as the Owls held the Buckeyes to just 17 the rest of the way.

The game is expected to be the second-ever sell-out at FAU Stadium and will be a wild in state atmosphere against the #18 Knights.

Excitement is certainly in the air the question is: can the Owls pull off one of, if not the, biggest upset in school history?

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

UCF Knights

Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl

Florida Football Insiders

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One-player eager to start showcasing himself Saturday afternoon in the pre-draft process  in St Petersburg is former UCF speedster RB, Adrian Killins.

Killins ,who just finished four years of highlight runs and touchdowns for the the Knights will participate in the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Killins is generously listed at 5’9 and 165 lb. and came UCF without much fanfare from Daytona Mainland High School. However, he had been an explosive player on the football gridiron, and he was also a former two time 3A State 200m track champion before coming to Orlando.

Once at UCF in 2016, Killins immediately showed off his explosiveness and moniker of “fastest player in college football” with a 100-yard kickoff return at ECU and an 87 yard touchdown run at “the Big House” in Ann Arbor against Michigan.

His best season was his sophomore year, when he was named First Team All American Athletic Conference RB, as he rushed for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead UCF. He showed versatility and caught another additional 25 passes for 169 yards.

He also set a UCF record for longest play from scrimmage that still stands, in the UCF regular season win over Memphis, as he took a handoff and the looked like a missle racing down the sideline:

Killins helped the Knights experience their greatest season ever at 13 – 0 with not only a thrilling double-overtime conference title game rematch win over the Tigers, but a New Year’s Day upset of SEC Powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl for the perfect season.

His next two years under Josh Heupel and his new coaching staff were not as spectacular. But, he still he would make the occasional explosive run and finished his career with over 1,700 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns.

He did leave a final impression with his 115 yards and 1 TD in the regular season finale with USF.

Now, he knows that with his smaller size, even with blazing speed, he will be challenged to stick on an NFL roster, and another way might be as a kick returner. Killins left UCF with a career 21.8 avg on 47 returns as a Knight.

He will likely need to show that part of his game to help him get a realistic shot at the next level. And, we wait to see if there will be explosive plays from him Saturday.

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UCF Knights

Final Power Rankings for 2019

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It’s the final edition of our 2019 power rankings headed into the bowl onslaught and the final Sunday of NFL football. The teams at the top should look familiar, including two that have won their bowl game already. and the final three have definitely deserved to be moved up or into the final list.

Florida Gators – the Gators are prepping for Monday night’s Orange Bowl against the Virginia Cavaliers and will hold down the top spot in the power rankings to dnd season based on their overall consistent performance. A second straight 10-win year and also “New Year’s Six” bowl game validates the hire and the hard work of Dan Mullen, his staff and the players. You consider the Florida’s only two losses in the toughest college conference in land are to #1  LSU and rival Georgia, who won the East and is in the Sugar Bowl themselves.

So, it’s been a good season. Now, can they cap it off what they did a year ago with a Peach Bowl win over Michigan?

UCF Knights – As we wrote on Monday, they finished with a third straight 10-win season by hammering the Marshall Thundering Herd in the Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa. Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel (above) showed great poise, skill and potential for the future throughout the season. He threw two more touchdowns and ran for another, while being named the Bowl MVP.

UCF clearly has the arrow pointing up and has established itself, as the second-best program in the state behind the Gators.

FAU Owls- A great finish to the regular season, a Conference USA title game win and now, a Boca Raton Bowl win over SMU last Saturday brings the Owls to finish third on our list. Even though coach Lane Kiffin has departed to take over at Ole Miss, former USF, Oregon and FSU coach Willie Taggart slid-into Boca Raton and has a great chance to succeed right away.

Quarterback Chris Robison continued to play well throughout the close of season, including in the win over the Mustangs last Saturday. FAU won 10 games for the second time in three years and is deserving of this slot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Even though the Bucs had their four-game winning streak snapped last Saturday by the Houston Texans, they still have played consistent, good football in the second half of the year and had gotten their record to 7-7.

Yes, QB Jameis Winston has been maddening with the interceptions, but also has been smashing single-game passing records and has been a key part of them being able to score/win games. But, after three more picks last week, Winston needs a good performance in the finale’ with the Falcons Sunday to quiet down the critics that the Buccaneers part with him after this season.

Tampa Bay’s defense under coordinator Todd Bowles has also approved, particularly their secondary where they have spent numerous premium draft picks over the last few years. A win Sunday would only be the third time this decade the Buccaneers don’t have a losing season.

Miami Dolphins – They come off a dramatic overtime win over the lowly Bengals last week in a game, where they collapsed but still found a way to win. It was their fourth one of the season after an 0 – 7 start and clearly the team is playing hard for coach Brian Flores and his staff at the end.

We are still puzzled as to why they insist on not playing QB Josh Rosen in these meaningless games, but it likely means GM Chris Grier and Flores have decided that Rosen is being cut at the end of this season and they will simply eat $4 million dollars in dead cap money.

Finally, the development of DeVante Parker hass continued as he went over 1,000 yards receiving last week and got a contract extension with a bunch of guaranteed money. And, while Miami does have numerous holes to fill, they have a chance to be a .500 team in 2020, if they keep trending in the right direction.

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