UCF looks to keep weekday success going against BYU


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

UCF starts a stretch of three-straight home games, starting on Thursday against BYU.

Following a dramatic late game defensive to secure a win over Houston last week, the UCF Knights return home this Thursday to take on the BYU Cougars at 7:30 p.m. at Bright House Networks Stadium.

UCF is coming off of their best defensive performance of the season, holding Houston to 12 points, all of which came on field goals. But with the good came the bad, as quarterback Justin Holman had his worst game of the season going 6-18 passing for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

BYU is coming into the game having just been upset by Utah State last week, the loss not only took the Cougars out the College Football Playoff race, but they also lost their star quarterback Taysom Hill during the second quarter of that game. Senior Christian Stewart took over for Hill that game and went on to throw three interceptions.

“He’s a good player, there’s no question about it,” said UCF head coach George O’Leary about Hill. “BYU is BYU,… they’re doing a lot of the same things they were doing with (Hill) in the game.”

With Stewart getting the start on Thursday, the Knights’ defense will be looking at a much different BYU offense than fans expected to get when they looked at the schedule earlier in the season.

UCF’s defense has improved significantly since giving up 511 yards against Penn State in the season opener, and that defense will be tested again by BYU’s talented wide receiving corp.

“They’re showing progress, that’s what you want to be in football, is showing progress each game” said coach O’Leary about his defense. “I think they’re pass rushing better, which helps the coverage people out, I think we’re tackling better.”

A matchup that will also be interesting to watch will be the Knight’s wideouts going up against the Cougars defensive backs. UCF has some talented wide receivers and guys like Josh Reese and Rannell Hall are just waiting to have a breakout game.

This matchup at Bright House Networks Stadium will kickoff a  three-game homestand for the Knights, who will play five of their next six games at home.

UCF will look to continue their success during weekday games on Thursday, with the game being televised nationally for the second week in a row on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. from Bright House Networks Stadium.