This Saturday, UCF faces the current favorite for the Big 12 Player of The Year and Doak Walker Awards in Oklahoma State’s Ollie Gordon II at the Bounce House.
Gordon has led #15 Oklahoma State to a 7-2 record, including knocking off Oklahoma in “Bedlam” this past Saturday to put the Cowboys in position to play for the Big 12 Championship game if they win out.
Gordon is ranked in the top six in the NCAA in the following categories :
- Rushing Yards — 1,224 (1st)
- Rushing Touchdowns — 12 (5th)
- Rushing Yards Per Carry — 7.4 (6th)
- Total Touchdowns — 13 (6th)
- All-Purpose Yards per Game — 160.44 (3rd)
This is not good news for a Knights defense that ranks 127th in the FBS in rushing defense, allowing 211.8 yards per game, and has given up over 200 yards on the ground in four of its six Big 12 games.
I know what some of you wondering: What is the record for most rushing yards given up by UCF?
The answer is 255 by Akron’s Mike Clark on September 27, 1986.
The dominant performance of Oklahoma State RB Ollie Gordon has some pondering his outlook as a 2025 NFL Draft prospect.— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) November 4, 2023
Can he be RB1? https://t.co/8AmK12ylS8
Gordon II is just a sophomore so he will not be eligible for the NFL Draft until after next year. But this is the only scheduled meeting between Gordon II and the Cowboys against UCF in the next two years, which got me thinking: Who are some of the best running backs that have played against UCF in recent years?
Christian McCaffrey — Stanford
UCF played against Heisman Trophy finalist Christian McCaffery in 2015. The Knights held McCaffery to 58 yards rushing on 20 carries but McCaffery still ended up with 166 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in Stanford’s 31-7 win.
Last year, UCF dealt with Tulane’s Tyjae Spears who is now in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. But those games were on the road. What about the best running backs to play against UCF at the Bounce House?
Here are who I consider the five best running backs that have played against UCF at the Bounce House:
Jamal Charles — Texas, 2007
22 carries, 153 yards, TD
In 2007 Charles rushed for 1,619 yards, 18 touchdowns with an average of 6.3 yards per carry for the Longhorns.
Charles played in the NFL for 11 seasons, primarily with the Kansas City Chiefs and was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Mike Davis — South Carolina, 2013
26 carries, 173 yards, 3 TD
In 2013, Davis rushed for 1,183 yards with 11 touchdowns and was a second-team All-SEC selection.
Davis was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Davis has also played for the Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens.
Tony Pollard — Memphis, 2017
198 all-purpose yards, 2 total TDs in 2017 AAC Championship Game
Pollard was considered one of the best kickoff return specialists in college football, tying an FBS record with seven career kick-return touchdowns and was a two-time AAC Special Teams Player of the Year (2016-2017).
Pollard is the starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys and was drafted by the Cowboys in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Devin Singletary — FAU, 2018
25 carries, 142 yards, 3 TD
As a sophomore in 2017, Singletary led all Division I FBS players with 32 rushing touchdowns (33 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns), and finished with 1,920 rushing yards.
Darrell Henderson — Memphis, 2018
16 carries, 214 yards, 3 TD, 13.3 yards per carry, 1 passing TD
Henderson had a breakout season for Memphis in 2018, rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns on 214 carries. Henderson's 13.3 yards per carry vs. UCF is the highest average UCF has ever given up in a game.
Henderson was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Henderson has the most yards rushing by an opponent at the Bounce House but the record for most yards rushing all-time in a game at the Bounce House is held by, of course, UCF Athletic Hall of Famer Kevin Smith, who ran for 284 yards on 39 carries with 4 touchdowns against Tulsa in the 2007 AAC Title game, leading UCF to the 44-25 win.
The Cowboys' 2023 season reminds me of the Knights’ 2007 season, as both got off to a slow start with humbling losses, but changed their seasons’ fortunes by committing to the run and handing the ball off to their running back, who turned the season into a memorable one.
Smith led the NCAA with 2,567 yards, falling just short of the NCAA record held by Oklahoma State legend Barry Sanders, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1988 with 2,628 yards.
Only Oklahoma State RBs to rush for 250+ yards in back to back games:— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 3, 2023
— Ollie Gordon II
— Barry Sanders pic.twitter.com/nxDltu0ICY
The Cowboys’ starting QB in 1988 was their current Head Coach, Mike Gundy, who has seen Gordon II draw comparisons to Sanders by becoming the second player in program history with back-to-back games of 250-plus rushing yards. Sanders did it in 1988.
UCF hopes that Saturday is where comparisons end by spoiling Gordon II and the Cowboys' season and pulling off a memorable upset against one of the best backs the program has ever faced.