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UCF narrow miss of Duke upset continues massive attention

Florida Football Insiders



Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes when you lose, you still win.

It was an amazing Sunday night in Columbia, South Carolina, and once again, the UCF athletic department was on the national stage. The Knights basketball team came within a whisker of the upsetting powerhouse and National Title favorite Duke.

And it capped 18 months of massive recognition and accomplishment for the Black and Gold.

First, if you weren’t watching, here are the frantic final seconds with Knights down by a point with the chance to beat the top seed:

Yes, it is paining UCF’s fans that they had not one, but two chances, to put in the winning shot to knock off the Blue Devils in advance to the “Sweet 16.” However, when the coach’s son, Aubrey Dawkins, had his tip in rim- out, Duke survived. America was still buzzing about the Knights and their near upset.

In fact, two hours after the game concluded, 5 of the top 10 trending topics in the United States on Twitter were related to the game and/or even, Dawkins and UCF 7′ 6 center, Tacko Fall.

Former Duke All-American, now UCF hoops boss, Johnny Dawkins, has put the Knights in the national conversation in just his third season.

And, this comes on the heels of back-to-back amazing football seasons that made UCF a “household name” in the college athletic circles.

The run started with Scott Frost and a perfect season that finished with UCF kayoing powerhouse Auburn in the Peach Bowl in January of 2018. It continued with first-year Coach Josh Heupel leading the Knights to another perfect season and second straight AAC Championship game win. Having upped the nation’s longest win streak to 25 straight games, the streak ended January 1st, when they were beaten by LSU in the Fiesta Bowl.

Still, for all the ridicule of UCF celebrating as “National Champions” 13 months ago (and it’s deserved), the Knights have had massive increase in fundraising and interest for the University derived from it’s athletics teams.

Most importantly, you simply cannot put a price tag on all of the humongous nationwide attention/free media covderage the school has gotten because of these successes.

Yes, it was heart-break (see the photo of Dawkins being consoled at the top), but in Sunday night’s case, a near success (77-76) will still will have everyone talking Monday morning.

UCF Knights

USF and UCF got American Conference 2020 schedules Tuesday

Florida Football Insiders



Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday afternoon the American Athletic Conference made official is 2020 football dates for opponents for its conference members. And, that means UCF and USF got to look for the first time at their full conference slates and when they are playing whom.

First for the Knights, they learned that they will open year three of coach Josh Heupel’s conference play on Thursday night September 24th at East Carolina. It is one of three stand-alone weeknight(day) games UCF has on their schedule.

The next one will be Friday night October 16th, as UCF travels to play the Memphis Tigers. That’s a team that the Knights defeated for two Conference Championship Game victories in 2017 and 18.

UCF will also play a traditional “War on I-4” game with the rival Bulls on the Friday after Thanksgiving November 27th. This will be the fourth straight year of playing on “Black Friday.”

As for the Knights other part of the league schedule, they will have their AAC home opener with Tulsa on Saturday October 3rd and then, finish the slate with two huge home matchups with Temple Saturday November 14th followed by Cincinnati at Spectrum Stadium the following week.

For the Bulls, who welcome first year coach Jeff Scott in 2020, they will only have two standalone appearances in conference play. Those will be a Friday night home game October 23rd with Tulsa and then, the previously mentioned final rivalry game with UCF on Friday November 27th.

The Bulls first conference game of the season will be at Cincinnati on October 3rd, while the home opener is East Carolina the following week at Raymond James Stadium.

USF has a tough road slate beginning at Temple on October 17th and then, after the Friday night home game with Tulsa, playing at Memphis November 7th and at Houston November 14th.

The conference is playing 2020 with only 11 members, as UConn has departed and gone back to the Big East. This will also be the first time that the AAC doesn’t play a two six team division format and will instead take the top two ranked teams in conference play for it’s December Championship Game.

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UCF Knights

Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl

Florida Football Insiders



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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