The UCF football team did something last Saturday it hadn’t done in 22 tries; beat a ranked team. After an historic 37-32 win over No. 13 Houston, the Knights are bowl eligible and face Tulane Saturday with an outside shot at the Conference USA title.
UCF (6-4 overall, 4-2 C-USA) enters their contest against Tulane off their biggest win in program history. The Knights defeated the Cougars behind great offensive performances from QB Brett Hodges and RB Brynn Harvey.
Hodges completed 21 of 25 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown. Harvey rushed for 139 yards on 35 carries and found the end zone three times. UCF kept the nation’s No. 1 offense off the field, holding the ball for 39:30 in the game, almost doubling Houston’s time of possession.
The Green Wave (3-7 overall, 1-5 in C-USA) come off a 28-20 loss to a previously winless Rice team.
Tulane led 14-0 after the first quarter, but allowed Owls’ quarterback Nick Fanuzzi to throw for four touchdowns the rest of the way.
When UCF has the ball
Look for them to attack Tulane’s defensive line with a heavy load of the run. Tulane is No. 98 in the country in total defense and is allowing 200 yards a game on the ground. Expect to see a combination of Harvey and Jonathan Davis in the run game for UCF.
Tulane boasts the No. 1 pass defense in C-USA, so look for them to cause problems for UCF’s wideouts.
When Tulane has the ball
Look for Tulane to get it into the hands of its two play-makers, RB Andre Anderson and WR Jeremy Williams. Anderson comes into the game 87 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season and is 35th in the nation in rushing yards per game, with 91.3. Williams is seventh in the nation in receiving yards, with just under 100 yards per contest.
The UCF run defense is third in the nation, allowing just 81.5 yards a game and has allowed just two 100-yard rushing games to opposing running backs this season.
As for UCF’s pass defense, freshman Josh Robinson and Kemal Ishmael will have their hands full with Williams. The Knights are No. 93 in the nation in pass defense and have given up big games to opponent’s No. 1 wide receivers this season.
Facing a team that struggles to stop the run bodes well for a team’s running backs. Look for Harvey to have another 100-plus rushing performance on the day and expect Davis to see time as well after registering his first career rushing touchdown last week against the Cougars.
For Tulane, it all rests on the offensive line. The UCF defense hasn’t been pushed around all season, and if Tulane wants a chance at beating UCF, it will have to block for Anderson and prevent UCF from getting past the line of scrimmage. The Knights are tied for seventh in the nation in sacks and are ninth in tackles for loss.
The last time they played, in 2006, Tulane got out to the 10-0 lead and was able to hold UCF to just three field goals, escaping with a 10-9 victory at home.
UCF kicker Michael Torres missed his fourth field goal attempt from 35 yards out, which would have given UCF the lead with 3:15 left in the game.
UCF leads the all-time series 2-1.
UCF is the second-least penalized team in the nation, averaging just 4.3 penalties per game.
A loss by the Green Wave would extend its C-USA losing streak to seven games.