No. 17 UCF Football Braces for Austin Peay’s Best Shot

UCF VS. AUSTIN PEAY PREVIEW

Adrian-Killins-UCF
UCF RB Adrian Killins will look to rip off a few more explosive plays versus Austin Peay. (Photo: Derek Warden)

Even at 6-0, don’t expect the UCF Football team to overlook this week’s matchup against the Austin Peay Governors out of the FCS. You can bet the Knights will be prepared to play solely because they know the Govs will be more than ready come Saturday night.

“They would love to come in here and shock us, shock the world by beating a ranked team,” running back Adrian Killins said. “I’m pretty sure their coach is preaching the same thing: ‘Let’s go shock them at their house.'”

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Kickoff

The Knights and the Governors will get the action underway at 5 p.m. Saturday inside of Spectrum Stadium.

TV

  • ESPN3
  • Play-by-play: Shawn Kenney, who was also on the call for the Memphis-UCF game earlier this season. Kenney calls games for the ACC Network as well as ESPN networks.
  • Analyst: Forrest Conoly, a former offensive lineman who was a member of Florida State’s 1993 national championship squad. He has been a college football analyst for ESPN since 2012.

Series

Tied 1-1. Austin Peay won the last meeting in this series, which occurred 33 years ago today: Oct. 27, 1984. The Knights, a Division II Independent team at the time, fell in that homecoming game, 24-21, and ended the 1984 campaign at 2-9. The game was played in front of little more than 12,000 people at what is now Camping World Stadium

Three Things You Should Know

Late addition: If you had asked any Knight at the start of the season about their game versus Austin Peay, they wouldn’t know what you were talking about. This week’s contest came to fruition following Hurricane Irma and the changes it forced upon UCF’s schedule. The Knights were originally slated to be idle this week, but following the cancellation of their Sept. 16 game versus Georgia Tech, UCF searched for a way to give its players an 11-game season. Austin Peay, as luck would have it, shared a bye week with the Knights and was more than willing to take the increased exposure and a $400,000 payday to make this game happen.

Baby Frost is near: This could be the last game before a brand-new Knight joins the UCF Football family. At least, Scott Frost hopes so. Frost’s wife, Ashley, is due to give birth to the couple’s baby boy in the coming days. Frost said Monday that he has been trying to “coach” Ashley in an effort to make sure their son arrives before Frost and his team head to Dallas to face SMU next weekend.

“If she listens to me as well as the players have, hopefully we’ll be parents before the SMU week,” Frost joked.

Quite the turnaround: How far the Knights have come, from 2015 to today, is remarkable. But what head coach Will Healy and the Govs have accomplished thus far this season deserves equal acclaim. From 2013-16, the Governors’ record was 1-45 and they endured three winless seasons. In 2017, they are 5-3.

Austin Peay Coming In

The Governors have triumphed in five of their last six games, all of which have been Ohio Valley Conference tilts. They have already faced two FBS teams this season, losing to Cincinnati by 12 and losing to Miami of Ohio by 21. Although another loss to an FBS opponent probably awaits them this weekend, the Govs are taking full advantage of this trip to Orlando, admittedly treating it like a bowl game. They started celebrating like they had already won the Super Bowl last week.

True to their word, the Governors went to Disney World on Thursday.

When UCF Has the Ball

UCF Offense: Let the track-star youngsters eat. The Knights ran the ball extremely well versus Navy, thanks in large part to a pair of underclassmen: Adrian Killins and Otis Anderson. They picked up 178 of the team’s 247 ground yards. Killins, a sophomore, had another one of his viral-worthy long bursts, a 79-yard score in the third quarter. But it was the true freshman Anderson who was asked to put the game away for UCF. Six of his nine carries came in the fourth quarter, and Anderson’s TD with 3:30 remaining, the first of his collegiate career, basically sealed the win for the Knights.

“It feels great that the coaches actually believed in me to be able to get in and run the ball,” Anderson said. “In a time like that, that’s the thing that you really wish, coming out of high school going into a big-time school like this.”

Killins and Anderson used to race against each other in AAU track, and they should be off to the races often versus the Governors.

Austin Peay Defense: Make UCF earn it. As mentioned earlier, the Governors were beaten by their two other FBS opponents this season, but they weren’t embarrassed. To the contrary, their battle versus Cincinnati was a one-score game with less than 6 minutes remaining. No team wants to play for moral victories, but the least Austin Peay can do Saturday is play hard. Don’t be overwhelmed by UCF’s offense, its undefeated record or its ranking in the polls. Austin Peay’s defense ranks as the 14th-best in the FCS, and that group can open some eyes if it holds the Knights to fewer than 38 points; only Navy has been successful to that end this season. Simply for Austin Peay, try to make this vacation more than only a vacation.

When Austin Peay Has the Ball

Austin Peay Offense: Cause confusion. Frost said the Governors “run more formations, personnel groups and plays than I think we have in our whole offense this year.” The more the Govs can mix it up and keep the Knights on their toes, the longer they will hang around Saturday. Austin Peay is averaging almost 250 rushing yards per game and has five players with at least 30 carries, including OVC Offensive Player of the Week Kentel Williams. Much like last week, this will be another game in which the Knights’ defense must stay disciplined against a unique opponent.

UCF Defense: Who’s going to step up this week? Put your guesses out there because it seems like a new man steps up every week for this defense. Actually, three men stood versus Navy. Linebackers Pat Jasinski and Chequan Burkett combined for 27 tackles in Annapolis. But in the end, cornerback Brandon Moore came up with the play of the day, forcing and recovering a fumble that completely changed the game.

Let’s watch to see which Knight shines on defense this week.

Final Details

Line: Because this game is between an FBS team and an FCS team, there is no official line or over-under available. If there were, just know that the Knights would be favored by somewhere between “a lot” and “a heck of a lot.”

Weather: Saturday’s game will be played under overcast skies with perhaps a thunderstorm or two popping up during the night. The kickoff temperature should be around 83 with a 10-15 mph wind coming out of the southeast.

Pick: This will likely be a romp for the Knights. The final margin will depend on when Frost and his coaches decide to call off the dogs.

UCF 52, Austin Peay 10

About Brian Murphy 33 Articles

Brian Murphy graduated from UCF in 2009 following four years as a sports writer for the dearly departed Central Florida Future. He has been writing about sports — college, pro or fantasy — since 2001. Favorite UCF athlete to interview? Former running back Kevin Smith. You can follow Brian on Twitter: @Spokes_Murphy

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