Last week, the UCF Knights had a rough start against the East Carolina Pirates. The team opened with 10 penalties in the first quarter, half of what they would put up in the game. Yet, it would be ridiculous to claim they only “squeaked by” with a 51-28 road victory.
However, it was the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes that snuck away with a victory over the Knights last year in Oklahoma, 34-31. Because of this, the Golden Hurricane is being met in Orlando with more anticipation than anything that would be forecast by a doppler radar.
UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel expressed his excitement for this game. “Personally, I’ve been waiting for this week…Saturday at 7:30 will come and we’ll see what happens,” stated Gabriel.
Tulsa was also the team that subdued UCF the last time they lost at the Bounce House in Orlando back on November 19th, 2016. While the Hurricane’s last game was canceled against Arkansas State, they did put some fear into the hearts of Oklahoma State in Week 1.
Ranked 11th at the start of the season, Tulsa held the Cowboys to only a field goal for the first three quarters before lighting up 13 points in the fourth quarter to put the game away, 16-7.
Now ranked 11th in the nation themselves and ahead of Oklahoma State, a Power 5 team, UCF is now the target of Tulsa. According to both Knights’ head coach Josh Heupel and defensive line coach Shane Burnham, the Golden Hurricane is the toughest team they’ve faced yet.
Head coach Phil Montgomery’s program beat UCF in the trenches on both sides of the ball when they last met according to coach Heupel. No doubt, the defense will have their hands full in their quest to build upon the nine turnovers they’ve recorded so far this season.
“What I like is that most of what I see out of [UCF] as a defensive unit is the physical nature in which we’re playing right now – and this week we’ll need it because [Tulsa is], I think, the most physical bunch we played last year,” said Burnham.
While there’s no word on the status of Knights’ receiver Tre Nixon as of now, running back Otis Anderson will return to action Saturday after leaving the game in the first half against ECU last Saturday.
If the coaches have forecasted the Hurricane correctly, the dark of night will not be the only shade of black or blue you will find at Spectrum Stadium as these teams will bruise each other in what looks to be an intense battle.