Last year it was Tulsa that upset Central Florida and helped to derail another trip to a New Year’s eight bowl game. Well, the 2-0 Knights are looking to keep the 0-1 Hurricanes winless and attempt to improve that No. 11 ranking and maybe bust into the Top 10.
UCF is a 21 point favorite in a game that will be played this evening 7:30 p.m. in Orlando on ESPN2.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
UCF has won 37 of 41 games since the start of the 2017 season. One of those losses was a 34-31 setback at Tulsa last year. Sophomore QB Dillon Gabriel and the Knights are looking to redeem themselves, as well as remain in position to climb into the Top 10 if teams ahead them in the rankings stumble.
UCF’s high-octane offense against a Tulsa defense that slowed the Knights down with a disruptive pass rush last season. The Golden Hurricane had six sacks during a 16-7 season-opening loss to Oklahoma State on Sept. 19.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Tulsa: QB Zach Smith completed 18 of 28 passes for 165 yards, one touchdown and an interception against Oklahoma State. LB Zaven Collins, who had three sacks and four tackles for loss in the opener, leads the defense.
UCF: Gabriel has thrown for eight TDs through two games while also becoming the first Knights QB to top 400 yards passing in consecutive games. He’s thrown for at least one touchdown in all 15 games he’s played during his college career.
FACTS & FIGURES
Tulsa has won three straight in a series that began when the teams were part of Conference USA. The Golden Hurricane are 3-3 against UCF in games played in Orlando. … The Knights are the second of three ranked teams Tulsa will face to begin its season. Cincinnati visits the Golden Hurricane for the home opener on Oct. 17. … UCF began the season with road wins over Georgia Tech and East Carolina. … About 11,000 fans (25% capacity of the Knight’s 44,000-seat stadium) will be allowed for Saturday’s home opener, including 3,000 students.