Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the UCF Knights.
Saturday, Oct. 28; 11:00 a.m. (CT); FBC Mortgage Stadium; Orlando, Florida
Radio: AM 740/FM 96.9 The Game (Marc Daniels, Gary Parris, Scott Adams); Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning)
Records: UCF (3-4, 0-4); West Virginia (4-3, 2-2)
Series History: West Virginia leads, 2-0-0
Last Meeting: West Virginia 45, UCF 20
Line: UCF (-7.0)
Fun Fact: West Virginia is UCF’s closest Big 12 opponent with the universities located a mere 900.7 miles (13 hr, 44 min drive) from one another. Cincinnati is a close second, located 915.9 miles (13 hr, 24 min drive) away, and is actually a quicker drive despite being further away.
West Virginia Mountaineers
QB Garrett Greene
Despite losing both games, West Virginia quarterback Garrett Greene has played some of his best football over the past two weeks. Despite completing just 51.5% of his attempts, Greene has thrown for 640 yards and four touchdowns and run for another 164 yards and two scores in his last two contests. With the WVU offense moving the ball in each game, it seemed they’d have a shot to win before falling short in the fourth quarter both weeks.
S Anthony Wilson
West Virginia safety Anthony Wilson is emerging as a playmaker for the Mountaineers as of late and turned in his best game of the season last weekend against Oklahoma State. With a season-high eight tackles and the first interceptions of his career in Morgantown, Wilson did what he could to keep the Mountaineers in the ball game. This week, he’ll have another big test with UCF’s great collection of skill talent.
QB John Rhys Plumlee
John Rhys Plumlee returned to the field at quarterback for UCF last weekend and all he did was nearly lead the Knights to an upset win over Oklahoma. Plumlee threw for two touchdowns and added another on the ground, but came up just short of a major win in Norman. Now, back in front of his home crowd for the first time since the season-opener, it will be interesting to see what the UCF offense can do with JRP getting back into the groove.
DE Tre’Mon Morris-Brash
Last week against Oklahoma, Tre’Mon Morris-Brash recorded eight tackles, a sack, and 2.0 tackles for loss, giving him 14.0 on the season. That doesn’t just lead the Big 12, but is also the most of any player in the country through eight weeks. With the ability to wreck games off the edge, Morris-Brash is a player to watch against West Virginia’s strong offensive line.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Can West Virginia stop the bleeding after two disappointing losses? Two weeks ago, the Mountaineers were 4-1 (2-0) and looked like a team that could press for a Big 12 Championship appearance. Plus, they’ve been favored in each of the last two games before falling apart at the finish line. Against UCF, the Mountaineers will need to play four full quarters of football, or they’ll lose their third consecutive game. As one of the most unpredictable teams in the Big 12, there’s no telling what we will see out of the Mountaineers this weekend.
Which team will show up on Saturday: the one we saw against Kansas, or the one that nearly took down Oklahoma? If UCF is able to play the way they did against the Sooners last weekend, they’re a team to watch in the back half of the season with a fairly manageable schedule remaining. However, if they lose this weekend and fall to 0-5 in Big 12 play, it could be the final straw for a team that is so much better than its record suggests. As favorites at home, and with a chance to get back to .500, this is the time for UCF to rise to the challenge and finish a game.
PREDICTION: UCF 34, West Virginia 29
Both of these teams have had issues finishing games in the fourth quarter throughout the season. In the last two weeks, West Virginia has allowed 48 points to be scored in the fourth quarter alone. Meanwhile, UCF took a 23-17 lead into the fourth against Oklahoma and a 35-10 lead into the fourth quarter against Baylor before dropping both games. Now, back at home and catching West Virginia at a bad time, I like UCF to get back on the winning side of things to kickstart a strong finish to the back end of their schedule. With games against Cincinnati, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Houston remaining, there’s still a chance for them to get to a bowl game, but it has to start with a win this week. Give me the Knights to win, but West Virginia to cover the 7.0 points.