Week 13 of the college football season will give us a cross-town showdown and a lot of pride on the line across the state. Miami and Florida International will hit the baseball diamond against each other in Marlins Park. UCF will travel to Tulane, and USF will host the top seed in the American West, Memphis. Plus, Florida Atlantic will head to Texas to take on UT-San Antonio.
The Hurricanes and Panthers will be playing each other for the fourth time in their history, but it’s the first time at the site of the old Orange Bowl Stadium. The last time these two linked up, the Canes won 31-17 a year ago. The Canes are coming into this game hot. Before the bye week, and behind QB Jarren Williams they were riding a three-game winning streak. Last time out, they put up 52 points against Louisville and will look to pick up where they left off. FIU, on the other hand, comes into this game on having lost two of their last three games, including a blowout loss to rival Florida Atlantic.
UCF will look to bounce back from their loss 13 days ago at Tulsa, blowing that game in the fourth quarter. The Knights will head to Tulane to pay a Green Wave team, which has yet to drop a game at home. Josh Heupel’s team will need the best from QB Dillon Gabriel, who struggled in their most recent loss.
This matchup with the Green Wave has all the makings of what should be a “good ‘ole fashion shootout,” as both teams have high powered offenses capable of big plays at any given moment. After going to a “New Years’ Six” bowl game the last two seasons, UCF will be trying to just get into the best bowl possible this year.
Meanwhile, USF will host the 18th ranked Memphis in the only game involving a top 25 team vs. a state team this week.. For the second week in a row, the Bulls will face one of the top teams in the conference, who is looking to secure a spot in the championship game. After taking Cincinnati to the wire a week ago, the Bulls could face a tougher time this week. The Tigers run the ball very effectively, and that just happens to be Charlie Strong’s Bulls weakest point on defense.
Freshman Kenneth Gainwell has been a force for this Tigers offense, and they have also regained Patrick Taylor Jr. The Bulls will need to force Memphis to pass the ball if they want to win this game. The Bulls will also need to find some offense. They have only scored 20 points combined in their last two games and that won’t be enough to pull the upset.
Florida Atlantic still has a chance to play for the C-USA crown. They will need to win out to have a shot at the East Division and that starts at UT- San Antonio. The Owls are a passing team led by Chris Robinson; however, the run might be their key to victory.
The Roadrunners have the 46th ranked pass defense, but the 108th ranked run defense. FAU was able to exploit the run defense FIU had two weeks ago and should attempt to do the same thing in this game.
USF and UCF got American Conference 2020 schedules Tuesday
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.
— American Football (@American_FB) February 18, 2020
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.
Speedy former UCF RB Killins looks to impress at Shrine Bowl
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.
— East-West Shrine Bowl (@ShrineBowl) December 2, 2019
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:
Longest run in @UCF_Football history ✔️
Longest run in @American_FB history ✔️
2nd-longest in NCAA this year ✔️
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) October 1, 2017
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.