Knights Ready for Rice

UCF will travel to Texas this Saturday to take on the winless Rice Owls. Coming off of an emotional loss to eight ranked Miami, the Knights will have a difficult task at hand as they can't afford to have a sluggish start or overlook their winless counterparts from Houston.

The last time the Knights hosted a highly ranked in-state rival, things unraveled pretty quickly. UCF hosted the USF Bulls last year and were defeated in an emotional game that went into overtime. This past week, Miami came into Bright House Networks Stadium and took a lot of thunder away from a UCF team that had circled that game on the calendar.

Following the USF match, the Knights were outscored the following two games by a combined 72 points. The task at hand now for the Knights is to not have an emotional letdown this week and to make sure they don't overlook a winless Rice squad. How do the Knights intend on not getting off to a slow start this weekend?

"We just are looking forward to the next week," said UCF linebacker Derrick Hallman. "We still have a lot of conference games and we can still attain our goal of winning a conference championship with East Carolina, Southern Miss losing a couple more games, we're right back in there."

Therein lies UCF's motivation for this week's game; a shot at the conference championship. UCF got off to a 0-2 start in C-USA play and now stand at 1-2 after defeating Memphis three weeks ago. Since their winless start, both of teams that defeated the Knights, ECU and Southern Miss, have lost conference games as well, leaving things wide open for the Knights.

"We need another conference win under our belts to stay in the race so it's going to be big," said linebacker Cory Hogue in regards to Saturday's game in Houston.

Coach George O'Leary has stressed to his players the importance of making the best of every conference from here on out.

"I tell them that the only thing we can do is control our own selves," said O'Leary. "We only have six games of the regular season left and you have to go out there and treat each one as it's the last game because you don't which six or seven plays are going to make a difference."

Despite their record, O'Leary knows that the Owls are not a team to sleep on.

"Rice hasn't won a game yet but when I watch them on tape, I think they do a lot of good things," added O'Leary. "What concerns me is that they've been doing some good things on offense, they really have. They do a lot of things on offense, as far as breaking you down responsibility wise."

With time running out on UCF's season, it looks like the Knights aren't looking past anyone and they certainly aren't dwelling on the past.


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