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It may not have been pretty on Saturday night, but the UCF Knights (3-2) managed to put one in the win column after two tough losses in their nail-biting win over the East Carolina Pirates (3-3).
However, a black and red shadow is looming over UCF this week as the No. 3 Cincinnati Bearcats hope to continue their bid for a shot at the College Football Playoffs. Knights head coach Gus Malzahn heaped praise and respect about their fellow future Big 12 Conference members.
“This is one of the best teams in college football – it’s not just one of the best teams in the conference,” said Malzahn. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play against some of the best defenses and I think you can put those guys in that same category. And I’ve played some really good offenses and they are in that same category, too. It’s a big challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”
Coach Malzahn went on to mention that turning the film on to watch the Bearcats “will wake you up in a hurry” when you watch them.
“Even my wife could watch film of this group and know they’re really good,” Malzahn added.
This certainly starts with Cincinnati’s head coach Luke Fickell who is credited to have built the program up to this point and their quarterback Desmond Ridder. UCF linebacker and this past week’s American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week Tatum Bethune explained what he sees on tape from the Bearcats’ man under center.
“Desmond Ridder is a guy who likes to pull the ball in. He’s fast and he can get around the field, so we just got to get him down,” stated Bethune.
That may be pretty tough for the defense because the long list of injuries that include quarterback Dillon Gabriel, top running back Isaiah Bowser, deep receiving threat Jaylon Robinson and now defensive tackle Kalia Davis who is out for the year. Davis is regarded as the most talented player at his position.
Nonetheless, UCF is hoping to assure the law of any given Saturday applies as they hit the field at high noon eastern time on ABC.