A View from UCF

Brendan Sonnone covers Central Florida for InsideKnights.com on the Scout.com network. He provides answers to some key questions as Rutgers prepares to face Central Florida in Saturday's St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field. How good is UCF's defensive line? What influence has coach George O'Leary had on the program? Can UCF control Rutgers' special teams? Those answers and more are here.

What is the strength of Central Florida's offense?
The Knights' offense doesn't strike fear into the hearts of its opponents but UCF has found an identity as of late. The team has begun to rely on running back Brynn Harvey, who is actually ahead of Kevin Smith at this point in his career. In UCF's past three games, the quick-cutting back has ran for 398 yards and seven touchdowns.

How good is the defensive line? Rutgers coach Greg Schiano compared it to Pittsburgh's defensive line.
UCF's front is excellent, especially for a non-AQ school. Torrell Troup is one of the most underrated players in the nation. He gets double-teamed on nearly every down and he rarely loses ground. Troup's dominance has enabled the defensive ends to have career years. Bruce Miller won the C-USA Defensive Player of the Year award with 12 sacks and Jarvis Geathers has accumulated 11 sacks. Miller is a versatile end/tackle type with a high motor and Geathers is a pure pass-rusher.

Rutgers has blocked a number of kicks this season and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. How are Central Florida's special teams?
Devin McCourty is definitely a concern for the Knights, but they've done a decent job on kickoff coverage all season. Nick Cattoi has been somewhat inconsistent, going 13-of-19 on field goals. The real strength of UCF's special teams is the return game. The Knights rank in the top 30 in punt and kickoff returns nationally due to the efforts of speedster Quincy McDuffie and the shifty A.J. Guyton.

Central Florida wanted into the Big East when South Florida joined. Do the Knights want to prove something in this bowl game because of that?
Absolutely, that is one of the more intriguing yet subtle story lines to this game, at least from a UCF perspective. With Big Ten expansion imminent, the Big East might be losing a member so the Knights are going to try to put on a memorable performance.

George O'Leary has a reputation as being a tremendous coach. How much of an influence has he had in shaping the program?
O'Leary has gotten plenty of slack for not being the most personable guy with the boosters, media or even fans but you cannot discount what he has done for the program. He has helped set a foundation for the future by turning around the team's academic performance and by being instrumental in getting an on-campus stadium.

Does Central Florida believe it is an underdog heading into the game?
Good question, that's hard to say. I think the Knights would relish an underdog role but I'm not sure they truly believe they are overmatched on paper.

How does the game need to play out for Central Florida to win?
The Knights need to take control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. If Harvey has room to run then the Knights can put up enough points to win. Conversely, if UCF can get to a young Tom Savage consistently then it would make things tough for Rutgers on offense. So in my mind, the key to the game for both teams is staying strong up front on offense and defense.

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