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Knights Gameday: Previewing Tulsa-UCF

It's a bounce back mentality for the Knights as they get ready for the Golden Hurricane.

The handoff to Stanback against UConn
The handoff to Stanback against UConn
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Hard Facts

Tulsa (2-7) vs. UCF (5-3)

Game Time: 8:00

Weather: 61 degrees, zero chance of rain

Line: UCF -20.5

TV: ESPN2

Broadcast Crew: Eamon McAnaney, Danny Kanell, and Allison Williams

Behind Enemy Lines

This week we enlisted the help of Will Bramlett, who covers Tulsa for Underdog Dynasty.

What is the main difference between Tulsa now and where the program was at in 2012 when it took down UCF twice en route to the CUSA Championship?

Last year our offense struggled, but it seems to occasionally find its stride this year. While Tulsa doesn't put up fantastic numbers, they are decent. It seems TU's defense has fallen flat this year. But the Golden Hurricane is a young team while the team was dominated by upperclassmen in 2012.

How have receivers Keevan Lucas and Keyarris Garrett become the headliners on offense?

Lucas and Garrett have great hands and, more importantly, can get around many people. Dane Evan has a cannon and often times doesn't know when to cut back, but Lucas and Garrett are two players who can catch even the roughest passes from Evans.

What is your key for the Golden Hurricane to come out of Orlando with an upset win over UCF?

I think the only way we can win is if the entire Knights offense comes down with the flu.

Much of our problem on defense seems to come on long balls and against good runners, like SMU's QB (Matt Davis). There are streaks of good play, but during the short times of failure, a team can put up quite a few points and cost us the game. If both the offense and defense can actually play an entire game, there is a chance we could win.

Key to a Knights Victory

UCF must create their own energy in this Friday night affair.  I do not expect the crowd at Bright House Networks Stadium to be particularly large or loud.  With the Knights against the ropes following the loss to UConn, it will be interesting to see how they respond.

Stat to Watch

Turnovers are always something to watch, but the stat becomes more magnified after UCF's last performance.  It will be unlikely that Justin Holman throws four interceptions like he did against the Huskies, but a repeat performance would get Nick Patti ushered in from the sideline.  It will be seasonably cool in Orlando, but not the sloppy frigid mess the Knights dealt with in Hartford.  A better weather environment should help keep the mistakes down.

Prediction

This is truly a crossroads game for UCF, so it could go either way. I predict a win, but not the dominating win that Knights faithful would hope to see after so many close calls.

UCF 31 Tulsa 24