Central Florida’s dreams of a perfect season and a potential berth in the College Football Playoff remain alive when the 12th-ranked Knights head to Temple on Saturday. The Owls, two-time defending East Division champions in the American Athletic Conference, have their sights set on pulling off the upset and becoming bowl eligible.
It was UCF that looked to derail Temple’s run to the AAC championship game in a late-season meeting last year before the Owls rallied for a last-second victory. “Last year is in the past. We are focusing on this game,” Temple wide receiver Keith Kirkwood told Philly.com. “We are ready for an exciting game. UCF is undefeated and I know they are going to bring intensity and energy and we have to match that.’’ The Knights remain just as focused, even as a showdown at home with rival South Florida looms for the final week of the season. “We have to look at what is in front of us,” UCF coach Scott Frost said during his weekly tele-conference. “Our kids remember what happened to them against Temple last year and are looking forward to the game, so there is plenty of reason to focus on this and not look past.’’
TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: UCF -14
ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (9-0, 6-0 AAC): As one of the few remaining undefeated teams in FBS, the attention has started to mount on the Knights’ program and Frost’s name has started to pop up as a candidate for higher profile jobs. But Frost is trying to downplay and thoughts of all the attention being a distraction. “There’s a lot of distractions and you’ve got to be able to ignore all of them. Star Wars is coming out in December, the new Call of Duty World War II just came out. There’s things happening all over that could get our guys’ attention,” Frost told the Orlando Sentinel. “Our guys are fighting it by showing up and going to work.’’
ABOUT TEMPLE (5-5, 3-3): The resurgent Owls have won consecutive games, knocking off Navy and Cincinnati, to turn their season around and pull them to within one victory of becoming bowl eligible. Junior quarterback Frank Nutile, who will be making his fourth consecutive start, has been a catalyst for the Owls. In his first three starts, Nutile has completed 61-of-89 passes (68.5 percent) for 803 yards and six touchdowns while adding a rushing score along with catching a two-point conversion.
1. The Owls are 1-51 all-time against teams ranked in the Top 14.
2. With a victory, UCF will establish a new school record for consecutive wins with 10.
3. The Knights’ offense has accounted for 63 plays this season of 20 or more yards, including 13 that have resulted in a touchdown.
PREDICTION: UCF 37, Temple 22