Scott Frost left UCF football to coach at his alma mater. Josh Heupel takes over for Frost. Can Heupel keep the Knights undefeated streak going in Orlando in 2018?
In 2017, the UCF Knights were America’s Cinderella story. From the ashes of their 0-12 season just two years earlier, the Knights rolled up an 11-0 regular season record. Then they won a rematch against Memphis for the AAC championship, earning the Group of Five’s spot in a New Year’s Six bowl.
Then they took down SEC West champion Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The victory was no fluke, as Tigers quarterback Jarrett Stidham threw for 331 yards in defeat. Where UCF excelled was in keeping running back Kerryon Johnson in check. Following a similar script that allowed Georgia to win the SEC championship, UCF bottled up Johnson and held him to fewer yards per carry than the Bulldogs.
Along the way, the Knights ended the 2017-2018 season as the only undefeated team left in the FBS. Both Georgia and Alabama, the two finalists in the College Football Playoff, lost to the same Auburn team that UCF took down in Atlanta. That offered some justification for UCF to engage in the time-honored tradition of claiming a national championship. And in reality, the claim by the Knights is far stronger than many that have historically been made by paper champions.
Now, though, Scott Frost has left to take the head coaching job at Nebraska. In steps Josh Heupel, the former Oklahoma quarterback, who gets his first chance as a head coach after more than a decade as an assistant. Heupel has plenty of talent to keep things humming in Orlando in 2018. Let’s look at the Knights offense and defense before assessing the UCF schedule and seeing how long they can keep the winning ways going.