The Knights have suffered from remarkably bad injury luck en route to their 0-4 start this season. Fortunately, things should start getting a little better this week when Dontravious Wilson returns.
Things are pretty dire for the winless UCF Knights right now. The best thing that can be said about this team is that its poor performance on the field will result in lots of fans getting free beer on Saturday (though hopefully, not beyond that).
The Knights have been cursed with terrible injury luck. UCF leads the nation in most games missed by injured players on offense. Starting QB Justin Holman, WR Taylor Oldham, WR Jordan Franks, C Joey Grant, OL Chavis Dickey, WR Jordan Akins, HB Joseph Puopolo, and RB Dontravious Wilson have missed a combined twenty-three games.
But there is - at least a little - good news in advance of the game against Tulane. Junior running back Dontravious Wilson is back, having recovered from a PCL injury he suffered in the first game of the season (a miserable 15-14 loss to FIU). In his limited time this year, Wilson has twelve carries for 34 yards. But he was productive in his (mostly off the bench) opportunities last year, when he rushed for 347 yards and 3 TDs.
It's welcome news for the Knights. UCF's options at running back began depleting before the season started, when Micah Reed transferred (he had slipped down the depth chart to fourth string over the course of spring). Then Wilson suffered the injury against FIU, and Will Stanback performed terribly (0.6 yards per carry!) in relief for the remainder of that game. Freshman Taj McGowan got the start against Stanford, and by last week, Stanback was off the team. The Knights were down to McGowan and C.J. Jones primarily carrying the rock against Furman and South Carolina (plus some Nick Patti from the wildcat, especially against Furman).
Wilson's return should help boost an offense that continues to be awful on the whole. And it certainly restores a semblance of depth at running back moving into conference play. Wilson is not a panacea however: a good deal of blame for lack of success in the running game should be laid at the feet of the offensive line.
Which is nice, because today's game is one of the more winnable ones remaining on UCF's slate. At least for now, the Knights still can lay claim to a track record of dominating AAC play (the Knights are 15-1 in conference since the AAC's inception, won the inaugural league title outright, and tied with Memphis and Cincinnati last year as co-champions). That conference record is certainly going to get sullied this year, but hopefully it doesn't start against Tulane (against whom UCF has a 5-1 record)
The biggest boost of course will come when starting QB Justin Holman is ready to play. And that's apparently not quite yet. Holman is now being considered "day-to-day," but there's no specific word on when he will be sufficiently recovered from the fracture to his right index finger to play. Which means that we can expect to endure more of Bo Schneider's often cringe-worthy play at quarterback.
And hope it all looks a bit better when Holman joins Wilson back on the field.