The UCF Knights are back home at 2-0 after last week’s win at Boise State, but not without some cost: John Rhys Plumlee is out with a knee injury, but former South Florida starter and Seminole High star Timmy McClain takes over at quarterback, with an eye ongetting UCF to conference play at 3-0.
Standing in their way: The 2-0 FCS Villanova Wildcats.
Here we go:
Week 3: Villanova Wildcats
Kickoff: Saturday, September 16, 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: FBC Mortgage Stadium
TV: Big XII Now/ESPN+ — Drew Fellios (PxP) and Forrest Conoly
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game — Marc Daniels (PxP), Gary Parris (analyst) and Scott Adams (sideline)
Series: UCF leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: 2006 — 35-16, UCF
That game opened UCF’s second season in Conference USA and snapped an eight-game losing streak for UCF in season openers at the time.
About the Wildcats
Last Season: 6-5, 4-4 and 8th out of 14 teams in the Colonial — now Coastal — Athletic Association.
This Season: 2-0, #24 in the latest StatsPerform FCS Poll (Picked 7th in the CAA Preseason)
Last Week: Beat Colgate, 42-19.
- Villanova last made the FCS Playoffs in 2021, losing in the quarterfinals to South Dakota State.
- They’ve been to the FCS Playoffs eight of the last 14 seasons and won their only national title in 2009.
7th year | 39-26
Ferrante was the O-Line coach under Andy Talley for 29 years before taking over when Talley retired in 2017. He has taken Villanova to the FCS Playoffs twice.
Fun Fact: Talley cached ‘Nova for 31 years (1985-2016) and took it to its first and so far only national title after re-starting the program in 1985 after it was shut down five years before that.
Offense: QB Connor Watkins
6-3 Grad Student | Williamsport, PA
Watkins enters year two as the starter after throwing for 2,057 yards (16 TD/11 INT) and running for 467 (9 TD) in 2022. He set a school record for the fewest completions (8) in a 300-yard passing game in school history in last week’s win over Colgate.
Last week vs. Colgate: 8/11, 310 yards (!) 2 TDs, plus 29 yards on 10 carries and two rushing TDs.
Defense: LB Shane Hartzell
6-0 225-lb. Sophomore | Perkasie, PA
Hartzell is the Wildcats’ leading returning tackler from 2022, with 74 tackles, 9 TFLs and four sacks. He’s he leading tackler again this year with 14 total tackles and one sack through the first two games.
Last Week vs. Colgate: 7 tackles (3 solo), one TFL, one sack, two hurries.
In case you were wondering...
UCF is 0-2 all-time against Villanova in Men’s Basketball.
The last meeting was in November of 2016, when UCF lost by 10 to the then-#3-ranked defending national champions in a tournament in Charleston, South Carolina.
Tacko Fall had 20 points, 13 rebounds and went 10/10 from the field. Josh Hart, now with the Knicks, led Villanova with 15.
The first meeting was in the 2007 Old Spice Classic at Disney, a 76-68 Wildcats win.