COLLEGE FOOTBALL: UCF Knights Travel to Play Louisville Friday Night on ESPN

By  //  September 17, 2021

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Road game number one for UCF in 2021 now qualifies as more than the usual away-from-home challenge. (UCF Knights image)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Road game number one for UCF in 2021 now qualifies as more than the usual away-from-home challenge as the Knights take on the Louisville Cardinals Friday night.

Since COVID-19 prevented fans from attending games in 2020, this marks the first time many Knight players will compete away from the Bounce House in front of a substantial crowd of spectators.

Here are some of the latest numbers for the Knights (2-0) as they travel to play Louisville (1-1) Friday night at (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN):

■ Ball control. Over the previous four seasons (while the Knights were winning 41 of 49 games in 2017-20), UCF won the time-of-possession battles in only eight of those 49 games (FIU, Maryland, Memphis in 2017.

ECU, South Florida in 2018; Florida A&M in 2019; Georgia Tech, Tulane in 2020). That was mostly due to the Knights’ quick-strike passing game.

Gus Malzahn’s approach is more balanced (545 combined rushing yards over two games) and resulted in UCF leading the TOP column versus both Boise State and Bethune-Cookman to begin 2021. It’s the first time the Knights have prevailed in that stat in consecutive outings since the first three games of the 2017 season.

The Knights’ 34:46 figure for TOP advantage versus Boise State marked the largest for a UCF team since a 2017 game versus Memphis.

■ Starting the line-up. UCF’s 2-0 start (wins over Boise State and Bethune-Cookman) in 2021 marks the fifth straight season the Knights have opened a season with consecutive victories.

Gus Malzahn also knows a little something about quick starts—with his teams at Auburn opening 3-0 in 2013, 5-0 in 2014, 2-0 in 2015 and 2018, and then 5-0 in 2019.

Gus Malzahn also knows a little something about quick starts—with his teams at Auburn opening 3-0 in 2013, 5-0 in 2014, 2-0 in 2015 and 2018, and then 5-0 in 2019.

If UCF wins Friday night at Louisville it will mark the fifth FBS season (and fourth in the last five years) in which the Knights opened 3-0 (also 2013, 2017, 2018, and 2019). Pre-FBS starts of 3-0 or better came in 1979 (4-0), 1986 (3-0), and 1988 (5-0).

■ On the road again. UCF holds the distinction of winning at least four games away from home each of the last four seasons—winning all six in 2017, then four each in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Overall, the Knights stand 18-6 (.750) away from the Bounce House over that span (2017-2020)—including 6-0 in 2017, 4-1 in 2018, 4-3 in 2019, and 4-2 in 2020.

■ By the numbers. It’s really early, but here’s how the Knights compare so far in 2021 to recent UCF averages in the major stat categories (national rankings in parentheses).

■ The Bowser effect. Isaiah Bowser, a graduate transfer from Northwestern, tied the UCF single-game record with his four rushing TDs, all of them in the first half last week against Bethune-Cookman.

That gives him five scores in the first two games of 2021. That lists him second nationally in total TDs (Duke’s Mataeo Durant has six, also all via the rush.).

He’s third nationally in points scored at 30 (Jonah Dalmas of Boise State first with 42) while leading the AAC. He’s third in the AAC in rushing at 115.5 yards per game.

A long way down the road is Kevin Smith’s UCF single-season record of 29 rushing TDs from 2007. No other Knights have had more than 15.

WATCH: UCF Knights Cruise to 63-14 Win Over Bethune-CookmanRelated Story:
WATCH: UCF Knights Cruise to 63-14 Win Over Bethune-Cookman

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