The #17 UCF Knights, just like 39 other FBS schools around the country, will kick off their season this week against an FCS opponent. For the Knights, it’s the Florida A&M Rattlers who they’ll square up against come Thursday. In just the second meeting ever between the two programs, UCF will put their 24-game regular season win streak on the line.
Location: Spectrum Stadium (Orlando, FL)
TV: CBSSN (Rich Waltz and Aaron Taylor)
Radio: FM 96.9 THE GAME
Series: FAMU leads 1-0
Odds: UCF -47.5, O/U 65.5 (OddsShark)
FAMU Coming In
The Rattlers are coming off a 6-5 season under second year head coach Willie Simmons which was their first winning season since 2011. In 2018, the Rattlers averaged 26.4 points per game and 391 yards per game on offense. On defense, they gave up an average of 22.1 points per game and 355 yards per game. The only FBS opponent they faced last season was Troy in which they lost 59-7. Don’t let that fool you though, the Rattlers should be much improved this season specifically on offense.
When UCF Has the Ball
All eyes will be on grad transfer quarterback Brandon Wimbush to see if he has what it takes to lead UCF to another big season. In his first start at UCF, the room for error is minimal with true freshman Dillon Gabriel being a half-step behind him on the depth chart. Coach Heupel did say that Gabriel will play regardless so we’ll get a taste of what both quarterbacks can bring to the table.
To me, a successful day behind center means both quarterbacks protected the football. It was just last season that UCF coughed up three turnovers to FCS South Carolina State, a game where UCF was a 52 point favorite that ended with a 38-0 score. The difference here is that FAMU’s experienced offense may not give UCF room for error.
The Rattler defense is a pretty inexperienced group as a whole. Only two of their starters for Thursday’s game started at some point last season for them. Things can get out of hand real quick if UCF’s offense stays on par with how they’ve performed over the last two seasons. I think this is the biggest factor leading to the 47.5 point spread.
When FAMU Has the Ball
The defensive unit for UCF is made up of a revamped defensive line, a talented starting linebacker group and what might be the best secondary in program history. The Knights really struggled to stop the run last season and with no returning starting interior lineman, I think that’s the area everyone is curious to see in action. Defensive line coach Shane Burnham said there will be a six man rotation at tackle and they’ll have a good test against an experienced running back group from FAMU.
The FAMU offense is led by redshirt senior quarterback Ryan Stanley who has thrown for 6,067 yards and 41 touchdowns in his career. The offense is also returning all three leading receivers as well as all three leading rushers from last season, making this a very experienced and dangerous unit. Make no doubt about it, this will be a very good test of the UCF defense to start the season.
New Nickname Alert: @FAMUAthletics QB Ryan Stanley is now known as “Mr. Ice Cream Man.”— HBCU Gameday (@HBCUGameday) October 3, 2018
1) Because he was passing them thangs out like ice cream cones vs. NCCU
2) Listen to the track @Walibomaye let bang in the background pic.twitter.com/vSxVaKzGXc
UCF and Florida A&M have met only once, back on November 14, 1987. The Rattlers won that game, 19-14 in Tallahassee. UCF was playing in Division II at the time, and FAMU was one level up in Division I-AA.
The Knights finished 9-4 that year, making the Division II semifinals.
Believe it or not, we found the highlights on YouTube. Check it out below:
Time for some revenge.
UCF 62, FAMU 17
Who Ya Got?
This poll is closed
Florida A&M (+47.5)