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Preview: UCF @ USF
Nov 27, 2014
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Friday, November 28th, 12:00PM


It’s rivalry week and the second year of the return of the War on I-4, as the UCF Knights visit the USF Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. While USF fans have enjoyed a historical 4-1 record over the Knights, UCF has enjoyed much more success as of late and look to earn two consecutive wins over the Bulls. While current students at USF and UCF may not entirely understand the implications of the rivalry, all one has to do is look back at when USF refused to schedule future games with UCF when USF was in the Big East Conference and UCF was still in Conference USA. Ever since USF refused to schedule UCF, the two programs have gone in completely opposite directions. USF is coming off of a 31-20 loss to Memphis, while UCF dominated a terrible SMU team 53-7. USF, once again, will not be able to become bowl eligible, while UCF is vying for a share of the American Conference title, which would be their second in two years, and will be in a bowl game for the fourth time in the past five years.

USF’s success that was enjoyed under the Jim Leavitt era quickly ended when he was controversially fired, and since then have endured losing years under head coaches Skip Holtz and now Willie Taggart. USF is a middle of the pack American team right now, a far cry from where they had been in the past, however their 4-7 record right now is better than where they were last year, where they held a disgraceful 2-10 record. USF’s struggles have actually been somewhat difficult to pin down-perhaps it is because of inconsistencies from coaching scheme changes, yet they still recruit pretty high caliber athletes. Nevertheless, they have not been able to find a strong starting quarterback for the past couple of years, have had erratic performances from their defense, and suffer many penalties and turnovers. In USF’s loss to Memphis, it was their rush defense that failed them, and Memphis is also one of the contenders vying for a share of the American title-so that should not be overlooked.

UCF took care of business against SMU last weekend, as they came out of the gates on fire, and led 27-0 after the first quarter. After that, it was just a simple game of run it down their throat for UCF, and in the end UCF gained 236 yards on the ground along with 3 rushing touchdowns. Holman did not have his best game, but made a couple of big plays, as he connected on two touchdown passes, one to senior JJ Worton, and one to junior Breshad Perriman, who has had a touchdown in seemingly every game this season. The most exciting play of the day came from senior special teams/linebacker Michael Easton, who returned a kickoff to the house, going 96 yards for the score. It was very special to see a senior, such as Easton, who does not see a lot of time on the field getting to have such a huge play on UCF’s senior day.

USF does have some players who could give UCF’s defense a headache. While USF’s passing game has been an issue all season, they have enjoyed some consistency with freshman running back Marlon Mack, who has over 1,000 yards rushing and 9 touchdowns this season. Senior wide receiver Andre Davis leads the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns for their wideouts, and UCF also needs to be wary of speedster Rodney Adams, who most likely returns from missing the past couple of games. Adams actually was targeted by UCF as a high school recruit, however did not academically qualify and ended up at Toledo, where he then transferred a year later to be back closer to home-at USF.

Although UCF’s seniors have stated that they view this game as any other game, USF’s players and UCF’s head coach George O’leary as well as Mike Aresco, commissioner for the American Athletic Conference, know that this is the marquee rivalry for the conference. This game is the last one for USF this season and with no bowl eligibility to play for, it’s one that their seniors would be thrilled to win. UCF needs to win this game to have a shot at winning the conference, and they need to perform at their highest level on the road. Unfortunately the noon kickoff time on the day after Thanksgiving will probably hurt turnout, consequently it will be interesting to see how many UCF fans make the one and a half our drive over to Tampa. UCF needs to force quarterback Mike White (Who is getting the starting nod on the USF QB carousal) into throwing a couple of interceptions, contain Mack on the ground, and play a disciplined game. It probably will not be shocking to see a couple of unsportsmanlike penalties in this heated rivalry game. My prediction for this game is for the Knights to earn a hard fought 28-17 win over the geographically challenged (South) Western Bulls of Temple Terrace. It should be a fun one.

Players to watch for

USF: Senior WR Andre Davis, Sophomore WR Rodney Adams, Freshman RB Marlon Mack, and Senior DB Chris Dunkley (Was formerly a WR and just converted positions this year, also a good kickoff return man)

UCF: Senior Breshad Perriman (Burned USF for the game winning touchdown last year), RB William Stanback (Returning from injury and his backup Dontravious Wilson has been creating a case to be the #1), Sophomore CB Jacoby Glenn, senior LB Terrance Plummer, and Senior Safety Clayton Geathers


USF: Nick Holman (Out for year), Daniel Perry (Out indefinitely), Daniel Awoleke (Out indefinitely), Stanley Clerveaux (Out for year), Thor Jozwiak (Questionable), Rahmon Swain (Questionable), and Rodney Adams (Probable)

UCF: Colby Watson (Out for the year), Joey Grant (Questionable/Doubtful)

About author

Profile photo of Daniel Glass

Daniel Glass

I currently work for my family business in New Jersey and attended UCF from 2007-2011. I graduated with a degree in general business and when not working I am watching college football or the NFL. I am not an experienced writer, but have always been curious to test the turbulent waters of writing about my favorite team. Follow me on twitter @Dgyn14.

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