Game Preview – UCF Knights vs. South Carolina in sell out on ABC


Ty Wright / Valencia Voice

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles (right) has the third best Total QBR in the nation through Week 4.

Head coach George O’Leary has been here before, but for many of his UCF football players they have never experienced playing on national broadcast network television, that is until this Saturday at noon.

The Knights will take on No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday, marking the highest ranking opponent to play at Bright House Networks Stadium since Houston in 2009, a game UCF won 37-32.

The highly-anticipated game against the Gamecocks will be broadcasted on ABC, which will be the first time the Knights have been on national network television in the program’s 34-yard history.

UCF is off to the program’s best start since 1988 with a 3-0 record through Week 4 partially thanks to the play of junior quarterback Blake Bortles, who after three game has a 92.7 Total QBR which is good for third best in the nation.

“It’s what we worked so hard for over the summer,” said UCF linebacker Terrance Plummer. “Being 3-0, it shows that we’ve come a long way but we still got a way to go, we’re still trying to be 4-0 going into the conference.”

Bortles has helped lead the Knights to at least 30 points in each of the team’s first three games, another first for the program, while also going without a throwing an interception through 70 attempts this season.

“He’s a confident guy,” said O’Leary about his starting quarterback. “We’re utilizing him well as far as what he can do and help the team.

“Where he’s really, really improved is down and distance.” added O’Leary.

The Knights defense has also played a role in the start allowing an average of 12.7 points per game through three games this season, while also holding a +3 turnover ratio.

South Carolina will present a challenge for UCF on Saturday as the Gamecocks will come into Orlando averaging 30.7 points and 479.7 yards per game.

The Gamecocks is lead by dual-threat quarterback Connor Shaw, who has thrown for 661 yards and six touchdowns without throwing an interception through South Carolina’s first three games so far.

Shaw also lead the team with 47 rushing attempts, but the Knights also need to be aware of the Gamecocks leading rusher Mike Davis, who has 345 yards and three touchdowns on 45 carries for South Carolina.

This will be the fourth matchup between the Gamecocks and the Knights, with South Carolina leading the all-time series 3-0. The last time the two teams met was in 2005 when UCF fell to S.C. 24-15 in Columbia, S.C.

Tickets have already sold out for Saturday’s game, marking UCF’s first sell out since Boston College came to Orlando in 2011.

“It shows that we have a strong support system, that we have a lot of fans behind our back,” said Knights wide receiver Hall about the sell out. “That’s also a big boost for the football team.”