UCF Looks to Upset South Carolina, USF Goes with Quarterback No. 3

In UCF’s (3-0) last win, they defeated Penn State (3-1) 34-31 and then took a bye week. They’ll return refreshed this Saturday and will take on #12 South Carolina (2-1, 1-1). It sounds like a tough task for the Knights but the Gamecocks may want to consider themselves on upset alert.

Rewind to 2010 and UCF defeated Georgia in the Liberty Bowl and Boston College in 2011 by 27 points. In 2012, it held its own in losses against Missouri (21-16) and #4 Ohio State (31-16), ultimately winning the C-USA East Division championship. In its last meeting against South Carolina (Sept. 1, 2005), the Gamecocks were challenged by the team late in the fourth quarter but held on for a 24-15 win.

With only three games to-date, UCF hasn’t been undefeated since 1988 and it is only the fourth time through school history to do so. The team has a minimum of 30 points in each of their games, which also represents another first, with their most recent win–a 34-pointer–the most scored at Penn State by a non-conference team since it became a member of Big Ten Nation.

Adding a little fuel to the fire for this week’s soldout game, is it will be nationally televised.

UCF will be without linebacker linebacker Willie Mitchell; he is indefinitely suspended after his DUI arrest earlier in the month. In the two games that he played this season, he started and grabbed eight tackles (six solo).

Storm Johnson

Storm Johnson

But the Knights have running back Storm Johnson to help, who had a career-high day against Penn State with his 117 yards (of UCF’s total 219 rushing yards), assisting in its 507-yards of offense. The Gamecocks will bring their own rushing attack, which averages almost 225 ground yards.

UCF will also have to contend with defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. He’s yet to meet expectations as he’s been battling right foot problems and to-date, he only has two sacks.

The Gamecocks will also bring a talented quarterback, Connor Shaw. He has 661 passing yards and six touchdowns but he also likes to run. He’s second on the team for rushing with his 202 yards.

UCF knows it has a tough task ahead of them but coach George Leary said via the team’s website, “We’re going to have to go out and play well on all sides of the ball — offense, defense and special teams. I think it’s like any national game anybody is playing. If you win the game you get great exposure and national attention.”

South Carolina will enter the game knowing it has won 17 consecutive games versus non-conference opponents and will look to make this 18 straight (-6.5, 54 o/u).

 USF to start third quarterback of the season 

Sitting at 0-3, USF will try to change things up this week against #15 Miami (3-0) by having a third quarterback in four games start. The flavor of the week is quarterback Steven Bench, a Penn State transfer.

Last season, he was Penn State’s backup to Matt McGloin. He was in two games and went 2 of 8 and 12 yards while running for 18 yards.

Steven Bench

Steven Bench

Bench is the team’s third starter this season after opening with Matt Floyd, who lost the job in Week 1’s game. Next up was Bobby Eveld, who made it until the first quarter of last week’s FAU game. Bench’s name was then called by the team.

He went 8 of 24 and 128 yards– good enough to get the starting nod for this week’s game but expectations aren’t too high.

USF coach Willie Taggert said of Bench via ESPN, “He’s still not there where he knows our offense completely, so we’ve got to be smart with what ask him to do. We don’t need him to be Tom Brady. We want him to be Steven Bench.”

He has a tough game ahead of him as Miami gets the win (-17, 47 o/u).

 

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