The Knights are in new waters this year. They have already lost two games this season, and all eyes are be on how they’re responding to this unfamiliar defeat. There coming off of a 41-28 win against ECU where they came out strong on a 28 point run, but let them back in the second half to create a game of what should’ve been an easy win.
Now, they face another test in their return to AAC prominence as they take on the Temple Owls in Philly.
Temple has been up and down all season and are coming off of a 45-21 loss to SMU. However, they sit with a solid 5-2 record and have proven to be a very physical team, with a lot fo the same guys that took UCF to task last season and forced the Knights to fight their way back in the game to continue their undefeated reign.
Earlier this season, Temple blew out Georgia Tech, who just beat Miami last weekend.
UCF HC Josh Heupel is heading into this weekend with a good understanding of what his team will face this weekend and not underestimating what the Knights will have to do give themselves a good chance to win.
Coach Heup with the scouting report for our primetime matchup in Philly on Saturday 👇 pic.twitter.com/WFedo2J6TN
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 24, 2019
“They’re physical, they don’t beat themselves, they make you earn it and I think they play three phases of the game well together.”
Aside from the pressure they’ll face from the Temple roster, the Knights will have find a away to come out strong and finish strong while they’re playing away from home in colder weather, which has been a struggle for them this season.
In addition, they’ve got a lot of injuries plague the knights roster right now. The biggest hit is that RB Greg Mcrae will be out this Saturday. RB Adrian Killins tweaked his ankle but has been at practice this week and should be healthy enough to play. OL guys Cole Schneider and Samuel Jackson went down last game but are also expected to be back this Saturday, however, the Knights will need their O line in top shape to pull out a decisive win against Temple.
UCF has a lot going for them on offense, most notably in WR Gabriel Davis (above) who is tied for the national lead with 10 touchdown receptions so far this season. He’s one of the top targets in the country, with over 100 yards receiving in his last four games.
Every game from here on out is crucial for the Knights, and they’re going to have to win out to have a chance at claiming the American title for the third year in a row. As of now, Temple and likely Tulane in a couple of weeks will be the biggest potential roadblocks in UCF’s run.
American Conference announces UCF-USF will be in prime time
The American Athletic Conference and ESPN have announced game times for the Friday after Thanksgiving, including UCF’s traditional battle with USF set for Orlando.
Cincinnati at Memphis – 3:30 ET, ABC
USF at UCF, 8 pm ET, ESPN
Tulsa at ECU, noon ET, ESPNU
UConn at Temple, 3 pm ET, CBSSN
Navy/Houston and Tulane/SMU announced after games of 11/23.
— American Football (@American_FB) November 18, 2019
In each of the last two years UCF and USF battled in the 3:30 Eastern time slot on the Friday after Thanksgiving on ABC. The game two years ago was as dramatic as the young conference could have hoped. This as it was for a spot in the AAC Championship Game and to keep UCF’s 10-0 unbeaten season alive. The Bulls came into the game 9-1, themselves.
It ended up being one of the highest-rated non-prime time ESPN college football games of the entire season with a massive 3.3 rating and 4.6 million audience for Black Friday. The Knights dramatic kickoff return for a touchdown by Mike Hughes (above) in the final minutes vaulted them into the title game. And, they eventually completed a perfect season, including their Peach Bowl win over Auburn.
A year ago, UCF continued their unbeaten win streak and rolled into Tampa on the Friday after Thanksgiving for an afternoon National TV game at Raymond James Stadium. UCF was in complete command, when suddenly the best player in the American Conference, quarterback McKenzie Milton, had his leg fractured horribly in a second quarter scramble.
The Knights went on to win that game with the Bulls and repeat, as AAC Champions with another victory over Memphis the following week. However, they lost the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st to LSU.
The Bulls have stumbled to a 4 – 6 record and UCF has also suffered three losses to this point, including a stunning collapse 10 days ago at Tulsa. That’s where they were beaten on a last-second field goal despite being 17-point favorites over the Golden Hurricane.
The conference also announced that the two division leading teams Memphis and Cincinnati, who has already beaten UCF and USF, will square off in Memphis at 3:30 in that slot on ABC that the Bulls and Knights occupied the last two years.
Interestingly, both the Bearcats and Tigers may enter that game with only one loss each and may end up rematching each other the following week in the Conference Championship game.
UCF holds strong in our latest power rankings
A tough loss for the Gators, a big comeback home win for the UCF Knights and a rivalry road win by the Hurricanes are all part of our latest power rankings. Here goes:
Florida Gators- The Gators did lose, but to another top 10 opponent keeping them in the top spot. The Gators dropped this one to the Georgia Bulldogs. The Gators inability to get off the field on third down along with the non-existent running game led to the defeat. Florida rallied twice in the fourth quarter to make it a once score game, but in the end, just couldn’t get off the field.
Now, the Gators need a lot of help to claim the SEC East crown. Even if they don’t, they could still end up in a New Years’ Six bowl game. The Gators will next take on Vanderbilt.
UCF Knights- The Knights continued their winning ways last week by knocking off the Houston Cougars 44-29. QB Dillon Gabriel stayed hot by tossing three touchdowns with 298 yards in the air. Running back, Bentavious Thompson led the team in rushing with 65 yards and two touchdowns. It was Tre Nixon who had the best day of the wideouts, not Gabe Davis.
Nixon (photo above) had six catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Next up for UCF is a trip to Tulsa. The Knight’s chances of going to the AAC title game are getting slimmer and slimmer as Cincinnati keeps winning. UCF will look to keep doing their job and control the controllable.
FAU Owls- The Owls secured a big win over Western Kentucky. QB Chris Robinson led the offense with 208 yards passing and two touchdowns. The defense came up big when the Owls needed it the most. With six minutes left in the 4th quarter, James Pierre came away with his second pick of the game.
The Owls are now tied with Marshall for the top spot in the C-USA Eastern division. The Herd won the head to head meeting so they would need to lose again for the Owls to take the crown. Next for FAU is a game against rival Florida International.
Miami Hurricanes- The Canes beatdown on Florida State 27-10 in Tallahassee. In the prosses, they put the icing on the cake for former coach Willie Taggart. Jarren Williams took back the QB1 role and didn’t disappoint. He threw for 313 yards and two touchdowns.
Jeff Thomas came back with a bang with 84 yards and a touchdown. Dee Wiggins and Brevin Jordan were the other two leading receivers. The Canes will look to make it three in a row when Louisville comes to town.
Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags came back down to earth in London. The Texans took tamed the Jags with a 26-3 drumming across the pond. Deshawn Watson was on fire, only throwing six incompletions and two touchdowns. “Minshew Mania” may be over in Jacksonville, as he was 27-47 with two picks and two fumbles and now they will go back Nick Foles following the bye week.
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