Tuesday evening, the Knights football team exited the Wayne Densch Sports Center. Before them, a message: "3 bowl games, 1 championship. 0 bowl wins. Now it's time to change it!"
George O'Leary and his crew have made it clear to their players that amidst a party, the Knights are on a business trip. The one goal: a victory against Rutgers.
In 2005, the Knights lost in the Hawaii Bowl in overtime and in 2007, lost by a small margin to Mississippi State. It's a feeling the team doesn't want to experience again.
"As I told the players, going to bowls are nice, but the key is winning them," O'Leary said Tuesday before the team departed.
Cory Hogue, the Knights' leading tackler, expressed to the media the sense of urgency that UCF has experienced during practice and the intense dedication that the team has to their one goal at the St. Petersburg Bowl.
The Knights are now in St. Petersburg, having arrived safely. The team held practice this morning at Nicholson Fieldhouse, then made the two-hour trip to St. Petersburg. They continue to prepare, and more information about the Knights' countdown to bowl action will be published tomorrow.
How Rutgers is Preparing
The Scarlet Knights are preparing for their fifth-consecutive bowl game. They come to Florida with confidence, as they have won their bowl matchup the past three seasons.
Rutgers and UCF are playing against each other for the first time ever, and the Scarlet Knights are eager to play their black and gold nemesis. They are preparing with Tim "Touchdown" Brown, a player who has caught the most touchdown passes in Rutgers history (19). He has 2,158 career receiving yards and definitely desires a bowl win in this, his senior year.
Tom Savage, Rutgers' starting freshman quarterback, is one of the key components to the team's success as well. He leads all true freshman quarterbacks nationally in touchdown-to-interception ratio, ranks third nationally among true freshman quarterbacks in touchdowns (12), and is fourth nationally among true freshman quarterbacks in passing yards.
So far, bet sites across the country predict Rutgers to take the cake. The Knights have the same record as Rutgers, however, at 8-4. And we believe.