Unpredictable Knights

So far in this 25th anniversary season of UCF football certain qualities have held true. Going into any Saturday, fans are accustomed to seeing Ryan Schneider climb the statistical ladder in every quarterback category.

It is a familiar sight to see Tavaris Capers catching nine receptions a game, Matt Prater punting the ball an NCAA leading 49.4 yards per boot and seeing the nation's worst turnover margin at -3.75 per game.

All bets are off, however, when trying to predict this week's action since Schneider will miss his first start in 34 games with an ailing shoulder.  According to Coach Mike Kruczek "he is a definite hold out as far as the game is concerned Saturday vs. Buffalo."

Jon Rivera, who was 3-for-4 for 36 yards and an interception last week, will be placed behind center.  His job will be to get on the scoreboard early.  So far this season UCF has been outscored 48-3 in the first period of play.  He will also have to protect every possession for the Golden Knights.  "Offensively we need to learn on how to hold onto the football," Kruczek said.

This is only the second time in 13 seasons a quarterback will have to miss a start for UCF.  Kruczek has an easy solution when confronting Rivera for the upcoming game.  "I will talk to him about when Vic Penn got hurt and a young kid named Ryan Schneider stepped up and got the job done," Kruczek said.  Schneider went on to a 5-2 record in his 2000 red-shirt freshman campaign.

UCF will miss the type of numbers Schneider has put up over the years, which puts him among some of the elite quarterbacks in NCAA history. He holds the UCF record with 25 straight games with a touchdown pass. He is tied for 16th all time with his 77 career TD passes accompanied by Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman and John Always. Schneider also ranks 23rd all time with his 10,210 career passing yards.

Rivera should feel very confident from the tutelage of Schneider and the looks of this week's opponent.  Buffalo will have to travel to Orlando with the Nation's longest losing streak at 15 games.  They also rank among the bottom 20 teams in the NCAA in a number of categories.  Out of 117 division 1 teams the Bulls rank 116th in passing offense (91.4ypg), 115th in total offense (257.6ypg), 114th in scoring offense (12.0ppg), 116th in rushing defense (256.6ypg), 109th in passing efficiency defense (153.02), 116th in total defense (521.8ypg) and 112th in scoring defense (38.8ppg).

The team practiced for two hours under cool and breezy conditions Tuesday in Orlando. The Golden Knights looked very sharp in the 120-minute workout, according to assistant media relations director Jason Baum. 

"I was very pleased with practice today," Kruczek said. "We have come out the last two days and practiced very well, full of energy and enthusiasm. The players have come out here and not felt sorry for themselves; they have just practiced extremely well."

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