UCF head to South Carolina still searching for first win of season

Produced by Frank Shala

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Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Nick Patti (No. 2) led UCF in rushing with 58 yards on the ground against Furman, mostly going from the "Wild Knights" package.

UCF will still be without quarterback Justin Holman when they travel to Columbia, South Carolina in search of their first win when they take on the Gamecocks on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.

The Knights will likely start freshman quarterback Bo Schneider against the Gamecocks . The true freshman signal caller went 7-11 for 63 yards while throwing one interception in UCF’s loss to Furman last weekend compared to Tyler Harris’ 7-17 for 35 yards and two interceptions in the second half of that game.

UCF relied heavily on Nick Patti out of the “Wild Knight” formation last week, as the former quarterback turned wide receiver rushed for team leading 58 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. While the surprise may be gone, expect to see Patti coming out in that formation at least a few times against South Carolina.

“I expect to be as involved as they need me to be” said Patti of his role going into the South Carolina game. “Moving forward our plan isn’t 100 percent set yet but whatever works for us I’m sure we’ll do. I expect for us to go back to what worked for us, whenever that was.

“I expect to be ready to go as much as they need and I’ll be there.”

Head coach George O’Leary and his team go into the matchup against the Gamecocks still in search of their first win of the season after starting the year 0-3 for the first time since O’Leary’s first season in 2004.

The Knights’ are 0-4 all-time against South Carolina with their most recent matchup coming in 2013 when UCF fell to the Gamecocks 28-25 for the Knights only loss of that season.

South Carolina will start their third quarterback of the season when they take on UCF, as freshman Lorenzo Nunez will get his first collegiate start under center. Nunez is a dual-threat quarterback who over the past two games has rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries while going 4-5 passing for 18 yards.

Nunez will be the most athletic quarterback the Knights’ defense has faced this season so it’ll be key to see how the defense is able to contain him.

“South Carolina they’ve got good athletes, they’re an SEC team, their big,” said junior defensive end Luke Adams. “But they’re very beatable but the only thing is we need to come ready to play.”

The Knights’ know they are going into Columbia to face a tough SEC opponent but players know the team is beatable coming off of two straight losses in conference.

UCF’s offense has been struggling during the three-game losing streak, as they’ve ranked dead last (No. 127) in the FBS in total offense and are the only team not to break 800 yards of total offense so far this season.

Coach O’Leary has been a head coach for 19 years and he understands that the season is still young and with the start of conference play right around the corner he knows he needs to keep his team motivated since they still have everything to play for come Week 5.

“Coaches are working hard and believe me no one is more disappointed as I am as far as the start of the season,” said O’Leary in his Monday press conference. “But I’ve been around long enough, you just got to coach the little things and be more detailed in the concepts that we’re teaching.”

The Knights will head into the Week 4 matchup down another running back, as it was announced on Tuesday that William Stanback had been dismissed from the team due to “continuous failure to comply with athletic policy and team rules.”

Freshman Taj McGowan and C.J Jones are the only running backs remaining on the depth chart to have any carried under their belt. UCF’s roster does show two other running backs listed in Michael Willett and Daron Humphrey.

Wide receiver Jordan Akins will also be out indefinitely after suffering a knee injury on the opening play of the Furman game. Junior Blake Tiralosi stepped up in Akins’ absence as he led the receivers with five catches for 35 yards.

UCF will head into Williams-Brice Stadium still searching for their first win of the season when they take on the South Carolina Gamecocks at noon EST on ESPNU.

The Valencia Voice will be in Columbia, South Carolina providing live updates from the game. Follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with scores and news from Williams-Brice Stadium.

Valencia Voice – @ValenicaVoice

UCF beat writer Danny Morales – @Danny_Morales_