It might be hard to believe, but the UCF Knights are still winless, beginning the season 0-5 for the first time since 2004.
It seems things just keep going downhill for the Knights as they had a glimmer of offense last week, only to fall back into their old habits this week when they took on Tulane in the first conference game of the year.
In what was a sloppy game overall with an abundance of penalties and silly mistakes by both teams, Tulane’s defense shined against a struggling UCF offense that can’t find momentum anywhere.
The Knights starting quarterback going into the season, Justin Holman, fractured his finger in a loss against Stanford in week two and was expected to be back against the Green Wave, but his recovery isn’t coming as fast as the coaching staff had hoped as freshman quarterback Bo Schneider got his third start of the season.
Schneider had some signs of a good quarterback in the making with 236 passing yards and a touchdown but turned the ball over three times. Schneider has seven interceptions on the year and head coach George O’Leary should be looking into his depth chart pretty soon. Fellow freshman Tyler Harris shared the snaps with Schneider against Stanford and Furman and played the entire fourth quarter against Tulane, going 10/15 with 156 yards and three touchdowns. Expect a change at the quarterback position for the Knights next week.
UCF’s running game had been notorious over the years producing players like Latavius Murray of the Oakland Raiders, but this year, the ground and pound has been down and out with only 247 rushing yards on the year. Starting running back Taj McGowan had only 11 yards on nine carries in a disappointing outing.
As the offense searches for its identity and any hope, the defense continues to allow points. Tulane put up 45 points in this one and quarterback Tanner Lee had an impressive showing with 190 yards and four touchdowns. The secondary misses tackles while the front seven continues to fail at bringing the pressure.
UCF goes back home next week to take on Connecticut. The Knights have won their last 13 home conference games but this season is proving to be one to forget.
In my opinion, the fate of the game depends on who’s under center. Tyler Harris should get the start after an impressive quarter against the Green Wave but this was against a laid back, leading Tulane defense. However, Schneider’s turnovers have been killers for the team and they need a spark. The running game has to get going with Taj McGowan and the defense has to be more aggressive.
As for George O’Leary, another week passes, making his seat get hotter. Its unclear if he will be fired after the season after leading the Knights to a Fiesta Bowl two years ago, but the pressure is on, to say the least.
Prediction for UConn @ UCF: UConn will bring a lot to the table like a consistent quarterback in Bryant Shirrefs and a strong running game lead by Arkeel Newsome who single-handedly has more yards than the entire UCF team on the ground this season. The Huskies are 2-3 on the year, suffering losses to three tough teams in Missouri, Navy, and BYU. UCF is nowhere near the quality of these teams, so expect a slaughter in Orlando on Saturday.
Final score: CONN 35 UCF 10