UCF Knights at Tulane Green Wave
Location: Yulman Stadium (New Orleans, LA)
Time: 11 a.m. CST (Yeah, an early kickoff!)
Spread: Pick 'em
Records: UCF 0-4; Tulane 1-2
All-Time Series: UCF leads 5-1
Last Meeting: UCF 20, Tulane 13 (Oct. 18, 2014)
Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson is expecting a battle, not a pillow fight, when his team welcomes UCF to Yulman Stadium on Saturday morning.
"They're going to be jacked up for this game," Johnson said of the Knights. "They got to get a win. We got to get a win. It's one of those games where they're going to pull out all the stops. They're going to come in here ready to play."
Both the Green Wave and UCF are desperate to "wipe the slate clean" as they enter conference play. There is no reason for either team to hold back.
Tulane is 1-2 following two ugly losses (Duke, Georgia Tech) and a win over FCS Maine two weeks ago. While the Blue Devils and Yellow Jackets beat the tar out of the Green Wave, Johnson's team is no worse for wear and the first win of the season proved beneficial.
"This week in practice, I’m hearing more confident statements and seeing more confident play," said Johnson, who is 9-14 in conference games as a head coach. "Will that carry on? I mean this is a good football team we’re about to play. Just the confidence is something I really looked at going into this thing."
"Good football team" and UCF don't belong in the same sentence — at least this year.
Nothing has gone right for the Knights, who enter the game 0-4 with a loss to FCS Furman on their resume. UCF showed some fight last week against South Carolina (even led 14-8 at halftime), but ultimately fell 31-14.
The Knights could get a boost in the guise of quarterback Justin Holman, who hasn't played since the season opener due to a finger injury. Holman has been cleared by the medical staff and is listed as questionable.
No matter the quarterback for UCF, Tulane's defensive line and blitzing linebackers must do a better job of creating havoc. Through three games, the Green Wave only have one sack.
Somebody has to win, right? If Justin Holman returns, UCF wins by a touchdown or more. If Holman doesn't play, UCF wins by a touchdown. Tulane isn't ready to earn its first win over the Knights. UCF 17, Tulane 13.