UCF Knights open up conference play against Tulane Green Wave


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Bo Schneider will be making the start at quarterback again this week.

George O’Leary and his UCF Knights are off to their worst start since 2004 when the 69-year-old took over the football program, and eventually finished 0-11.

While UCF fans can expect to win at least once throughout the course of this season, there are no longer any guaranteed wins as was made obvious by the Knights’ 16-15 loss to FCS opponent Furman back in Week 3.

The Knights travel to Louisiana this Saturday where they will take on the Tulane Green Wave (1-2) to open up American Athletic Conference play. UCF have won back-to-back conference championships including being co-champions last season along with Cincinnati and Memphis.

Despite being 0-4 going into the matchup the Knights still have everything to play for with their goal of winning a third straight conference title still fully attainable.

“As I told the kids, we’re 0-0 right now heading into conference play,” said O’Leary in his Monday press conference. “And that’s what the one goal on the team is and we’ve got to rise up, we’ve got to get better there’s no question.”

UCF will likely still be without quarterback Justin Holman when they travel to New Orleans this weekend, but freshman Bo Schneider has shown improvement over the last two games despite four interceptions in his first three appearances under center. The freshman signal caller did throw for a career-high 189 yards against South Carolina last week, but interceptions on back-to-back drives really hurt the Knights so limiting turnovers will be key against the Green Wave.

Returning to the lineup for UCF will be running back Dontravious Wilson, who has missed the last three games due to injury after being named the starter going into Week 1. The addition of Wilson will help the Knights’ struggling running game as they face a defense that has allowed 738 yards on the ground over their first three games.

“The thing I don’t see right now is the running backs making anybody miss,” said O’Leary about his running game. “Where they get hit is where they are going down, they’ve got to make people miss, that’s what good running backs do.”

Most of UCF’s struggles have come in the second half as the Knights have only manage to score 10 points in 120 minutes of combined second half football. In three out of UCF’s four games this season they have led at halftime, only trailing against Stanford in Week 2.

“What I see is a team of two halves,” said O’Leary about his team’s second half performance. “As I went over with the team themselves, three games you’re winning at halftime… and you don’t come out in the second half and get the job done.”

The Knights’ goal before the season was to win the division and then the conference championship game, and even with an 0-4 record going into Week 5 UCF still controls their own destiny. Being 0-0 in conference works to UCF’s advantage because conference favorites Cincinnati are already 0-2 in conference and ECU is 0-1. Temple is currently 1-0 in conference but the Knights travel to Philadelphia on October 17.

The Knights will travel to New Orleans, Louisiana to take on Tulane this Saturday with UCF knowing that their 0-4 start is behind them and they still have everything to play for moving forward. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. EST and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNews