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War (of Words) on I-4: UCF WR Marlon Williams Says Tampa is ‘Our Town’

Nothing like a little smack talk toward your rival to liven up Gasparilla Bowl week.

UCF wide receiver Marlon Williams
Photo: Derek Warden

TAMPA — There really isn’t much juice surrounding this Gasparilla Bowl between the UCF Knights and the Marshall Thundering Herd.

The head-to-head matchup, on paper, doesn’t scream “must-watch!” It’s a Group of 5 contest with a 17.5-point spread. The rivalry between these two programs was in its prime well before any of their players arrived on the respective campuses. It’s a bowl game both teams have been a part of recently, in a city and stadium that the Knights visit once every two years in conference play. “Unique” would not be a word I’d use to describe Monday’s showdown.

So thank goodness for UCF wide receiver Marlon Williams. When asked today about playing this game inside the stadium that the South Florida Bulls call home, Williams eschewed the usual player/coach speak that is pervasive during these prep weeks and instead handed out a little smack talk toward the Knights’ top rival.

Utilityman Otis Anderson wasn’t quite as inflammatory when asked Thursday about playing inside of Raymond James Stadium. But if Williams was throwing roundhouses, Anderson still found some space to deliver a small jab:

“Yeah, it does (feel weird to be playing there), but I don’t think we have to worry about [USF] too much until next year. We won our battle. That’s something that we left for them to think about for the next 300-and-whatever days.”

UCF has won the past three battles against USF, including a 34-7 victory in their 2019 meeting last month.

For what it’s worth, the Knights and Bulls will next meet in Tampa, in Raymond James Stadium, 343 days from now. You have to imagine these quotes will make their way back to the Bulls’ locker room between now and then, and I am absolutely here for the messy war of words that may come as a result.