GAME PREVIEW: UCF Knights vs. Maryland Terrapins, An In Depth Look
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Associate Editor // September 17, 2016
Saturday At Bright House Networks Stadium
ABOVE VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost, along with players Adrian Killins and Jamiyus Pittman, talk about the Knights’ upcoming home game against the Maryland Terrapins.
UCF is 1-1 after shutting out South Carolina State to open the season at Bright House Networks Stadium, and falling 51-14 at Michigan last Saturday.
The Knights will host a Big Ten team at Bright House Networks Stadium for the first time Saturday.
UCF has never faced off with Maryland on the gridiron. The Knights are scheduled to return the game with the Terrapins next September. UCF is 2-10 vs. current Big Ten foes. But the Knights are 2-2 in the last four with current B1G members, falling to Michigan, splitting with PSU and topping Rutgers.
On offense, Senior Justin Holman stepped up as a leader in the offseason and was named starter at quarterback once again for 2016. As the Knights’ starting quarterback in 2014, he helped lead UCF to a second straight American Athletic Conference championship. Last season, he missed numerous games with an injury, suffered in Week 2 at Stanford.
Holeman settled in nicely during the opener against South Carolina State. He struggled in the first half, going 6-of-17 for 28 yards, but rebounded to finish the game 8-of-11 for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
The Knight’s two highlights last week at The Big House were when true freshman RB Adrian Killins made the most of his one carry, as the young speedster went around right end and down the sideline untouched for an 87-yard score. It tied the school record for longest run from scrimmage (Kevin Smith, Nov. 3, 2007 vs. Marshall).
Another true freshman Jawon Hamilton has been the Knights’ starter in the backfield for the first two games. He has toted the rock 26 times to lead the team. Senior Dontravious Wilson is listed as the co-No. 1 at RB on the UCF depth chart. He has 23 carries this season. His 34-yard TD run at Michigan last week was a career-long rush and Sophomore Taj McGowan has also seen a good deal of action in the backfield, tallying 11 carries so far this season.
Like the rest of the team, the Knight’s are young on defense. Another true freshman, Trysten Hill has emerged as the Knights’ starter at one defensive end spot. The youngster only recently turned 18 years of age. He leads the UCF defensive line with 2.0 tackles for loss early in the season.
Up front, Junior noseguard Jamiyus Pittman has seen action in every game of his UCF career, a total of 27 contests. He started two games as a true freshman and 11 last season at defensive tackle.
He has been the Knights’ starter at nose the past two games. Junior defensive end Tony Guerad played in seven games in 2015. But he performed well in spring/fall camp to secure a starting spot in 2016. He’s averaging two stops a game, as UCF has not been shy about rotating defensive linemen.
Along with the three mentioned above, red-shirt freshman Brendon Hayes, junior Jock Petree, sophomore Joey Connors, sophomore A.J. Wooten and junior Seyvon Lowry have all seen action.
The top six tacklers for UCF through two games are linebackers. Junior Chequan Burkett is tied for the team lead in total tackles with 14. He also has a pair of pass break-ups to lead the squad. He’s done that as a reserve.
Junior Shaquem Griffin has been a disruptive force from his outside linebacker spot. The converted safety has 12 total tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack. He has also recorded a pass breakup, a forced fumble and a quarterback hurry
Up tempo offense is a Scott Frost trademark and in week 11 the Knights ran 91 plays in the season-opener vs. S.C. State, more than in any game since 2002. UCF is averaging 79.5 plays per game, compared to 65.1 in 2015.
The Knights are averaging 236 yards rushing per game, which ranks 29th in the nation. UCF was 126th (of 127 teams) in 2015 at 81.3 yds per game.
UCF features three sets of twins — Shaquill and Shaquem Griffin, Jerod and Jeremy Boykins and Boman and Wyatt Swanson.
ABOVE VIDEO: DJ Durkin gets a win in his debut as the Terrapins head coach, as Maryland registers a 52-13 win over Howard.
In some combination of red, black and gold over the first two games in 2016, Maryland has scored 93 points in its first two games under new head coach D.J. Durkin, the most in a two-game span for a debut head coach in program history.
It’s also the second-most combined points through the season’s first two games in Maryland football history (106 in 1927).
The Terps are looking to jump out to a 3-0 record for the first time since 2013 and second time overall since Maryland’s 2001 ACC Championship season.
Maryland senior quarterback Perry Hills has impressed through two games, leading the Big Ten Conference and ranking ninth nationally in completion percentage (73.0). With his three touchdown passes against FIU, Hills jumped Shaun Hill (2000-01) for 14th on Maryland’s career passing touchdown list with 20.
Maryland is one of just seven teams in the nation yet to commit a turnover this season through its first two games. It marks the first time since the 2001 season that Maryland has not thrown an interception through its first two contests.
The Maryland defense has performed well through its first two games, allowing just 13.5 points per game – a mark that ranks sixth in the Big Ten and 21st nationally. Of the 27 total points allowed thus far, just seven of those points were scored in the first half
After the departure of two defensive lineman to the NFL Draft, including the single-season sack leader Yannick Ngakoue, the Terps have received nice pass rushing production from the duo of Jesse Aniebonam and Melvin Keihn at the BUCK position. The pair have combined for 3.5 tackles for loss, including a team-high 1.5 sacks from Aniebonam.
Keep an eye (you wont be able to help it) on Senior defensive back and furst round NFL prospect, William Likely.
Likely recorded five tackles at FIU to surpass 200 total tackles for his career. The two-time First Team All-Big Ten standout is Maryland’s active leader in tackles (203), PBUs (34) and interceptions (7).
He has also started on both offense and defense in both games this season – the only player to start on both sides of the ball in both 2015 and 2016.
The Terps know how to recruit the Sunshine State, currently, Maryland features 13 players on its roster from the state of Florida, including starters Denzel Conyers, JC Jackson, William Likely and Kingsley Opara.
ODDS AND ENDS…
Saturday will also be a battle between two schools with many different uniform combinations. The Terps are outfitted by Under Armour, whose CEO Kevin Plank attended the University of Maryland and graduated in 1996.
Along with Coach Frost’s arrival came new Nike uniforms. When combining helmet, jersey and pants, the Knights have 64 uniform combinations. When other items such as shoes, socks, gloves, undershirts, etc. are factored in, the number approaches 3,000.
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