With the UCF Knights outlasting Tulane last week 14-10 in a defensive effort, they managed to become the first bowl-eligible team in the state of Florida.
During that game, injuries reared their ugly head once more to add more adversity to the preparation of what is likely the most difficult remaining game on UCF’s schedule, the SMU Mustangs.
Not only did star running back Isaiah Bowser leave that game in the second half, but the head coach himself, Gus Malzahn, was hobbling on the sideline with what turned out to be a fractured tibia throughout the game after inadvertent contact following a celebration with another coach.
Malzahn has been sitting in a golf cart during practices in the meantime, but logistics are still being worked out on how he will perform his duties during the road game in Texas.
As for the challenges brought by SMU, what jumps off the page when looking at their stats is that they are a balanced offense. With quarterback Tanner Mordecai averaging over 300 yards per game throwing to a receiver corps featuring Danny Grey, who has hauled in 47 catches for 780 yards, they are a force in the air. This is augmented by their leading running back Tre Siggers. Siggers has gobbled up 571 yards on 126 carries and 4.5 yards per touch on the ground.
UCF’s defense has quite a challenge before them, but the good news is their true freshman quarterback Mikey Keene may finally get one of the Knights’ best weapons back on the field. Malzahn mentioned that he is optimistic about the status of star receiver Jaylon Robinson.
“He was healthier [in practice] than he was the week before, so there’s a good chance he’ll be on the field playing and ready to go. Obviously, he’s a playmaker so that’s really good for us,” said Malzahn on Robinson.
While SMU is on a two-game slide, both of those contests were decided by a single score. If UCF hopes to win on the road at 12:00 pm EST, they’ll need to play their most complete game of the season.