Live Coverage: UCF hopes to keep rolling as they visit FAU. Kickoff at 7 pm in Boca Raton.

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WINNERS AND WINNERS Be sure to check out their site. – The Central Florida Knights kicked off their 2019 campaign in convincing fashion and will try to keep things rolling when they visit the Florida Atlantic Owls at FAU Stadium on Saturday night.

Central Florida actually lost a football game last season, going undefeated–again–before falling to LSU 40-32 in the Fiesta Bowl. The Knights did not come close to losing their 2019 opener, as they hammered Florida A&M 62-0 last weekend. Thus begins what UCF hopes will be another banner year, coming on the heels of an undefeated campaign in 2017 and its 12-1 effort in 2018. The Knights lost prolific quarterback McKenzie Milton to a serious knee injury near the end of last year and sophomore Darriel Mack Jr. suffered an ankle injury in the offseason that has delayed the start of his campaign, handing the job to three newcomers. To say they did not disappoint against Florida A&M would be a gross understatement. Senior starter Brandon Wimbush along with freshmen Dillon Gabriel and Quadry Jones combined for 356 yards passing and six touchdowns.

“They did a ton of positive things,” praised head coach Josh Heupel.

“It doesn’t matter who’s in there; they’re all capable of leading this team where we want to go,” senior running back Adrian Killins Jr. added.

Junior Gabriel Davis led the way with 68 yards on three catches and two touchdowns, while freshman Amari Johnson hauled in two passes for 67 yards and a score and junior Tre Nixon had a team-high six receptions to go along with one TD. Killins gave the Knights plenty of good moments on the ground, as well, running for 106 yards and a touchdown.
“It all starts with the (offensive) line,” he explained. “We’re going to go pretty darn far because this o-line is stout.”

Florida Atlantic will undoubtedly provide a tougher test than what Florida A&M offered UCF last weekend. The Owls suffered a somewhat respectable 56-36 setback in this matchup last season and they are already battle-tested in 2019. Head coach Lane Kiffin’s crew faced Ohio State in its opener and fell 45-21. FAU actually led late in the first in this 2018 head-to-head matchup before Central Florida pulled away.

“For us it is like we are playing another SEC or Big Ten team–an upper-tier team–two weeks in a row,” Owls head coach Lane Kiffin noted. “Because (the Knights) have players like those guys. They have won as many games as anybody in the last couple of years in the country.”
The Owls managed just 22 team rushing yards on 33 attempts at Ohio State, but sophomore quarterback Chris Robison was 22-of-34 for 178 yards and a touchdown through the air. Senior tight end Harrison Bryant caught six balls for 79 yards and senior receiver Tavaris Harrison was also a factor with 57 yards on four receptions. Freshman running back Larry McCammon III had a touchdown run.

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Florida Atlantic has two fewer days of rest than Central Florida heading into this third all-time meeting between the two in-state foes. Is that a decisive factor? Maybe; maybe not. But it certainly does not help the Owls when they would already be massive underdogs even with all scheduling things being equal. Killins needs 64 yards rushing to become the 10th player in school history to reach 2,000, and he is one touchdown away from 20 on the ground in his career. Wimbush has 22 career touchdown passes–20 when he played at Notre Dame–in 21 collegiate games, and had 16 rushing scores with the Irish. The Knights’ defense allowed just 96 yards overall in the opener, including four on the ground. Florida Atlantic is 2-6 ATS in its last eight on grass and 1-5 ATS in its last six after allowing more than 200 rushing yards in its previous outing. The Knights are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 against losing opponents, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 following a win, and 6-1 ATS in their last seven September contests.

Prediction: Central Florida Knights

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Florida Atlantic has two fewer days of rest than Central Florida heading into this third all-time meeting between the two in-state foes. Is that a decisive factor? Maybe; maybe not. But it certainly does not help the Owls when they would already be massive underdogs even with all scheduling things being equal. Killins needs 64 yards rushing to become the 10th player in school history to reach 2,000, and he is one touchdown away.

Prediction: Central Florida Knights

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