UCF Football: Knights return to action to defend 2018 title vs. UConn

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

UCF football will look to extend its winning streak to 14 games in the season opener at UConn. Even at home, do the Huskies have any chance against the Knights?

Last year’s Group of Five star, UCF, hopes to extend the longest current winning streak in the FBS with a season-opening win on the road against heavy underdog UConn. The Huskies finished last season 3-9, and they have lost two straight against the Knights. Last year, Connecticut took a 49-24 defeat in Orlando on UCF’s march to the New Year’s Six.

The one thing that could potentially work in UConn’s favor is the fact that the Knights lost head coach Scott Frost to his dream job at his alma mater. The former Oregon offensive coordinator made an instant impact at Central Florida in his first gig as a head coach. Now the Knights hope to strike gold twice in a row with a hot offensive coordinator jumping into the head role for the first time.

Josh Heupel, the former national champion at Oklahoma who begins his head coaching tenure against Randy Edsall. Edsall, of course, was the man who previously turned UConn into a respectable Big East power before bolting for greener pastures. Ultimately learning that the grass wasn’t any greener on the other side (at least not in Maryland), Edsall returned to Connecticut after a year away from coaching. Last year was rough, but the turnaround was always destined to take time.

As a 23-point underdog, it is unlikely that the Huskies are going to pull off what would be a monumental upset to start the new year. The better question to ask is whether UConn can manage to keep within three touchdowns of the Knights.

Here’s how you can watch the Thursday night game between UCF and UConn:

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Date: Thursday, Aug. 30
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: East Hartford, CT
Venue: Rentschler Field
Live Stream: WatchESPN

Keys to Victory

For UConn, the key to any possible upset threat is going to be containing UCF’s myriad offensive threats. The Knights can beat teams in the air and on the ground, as dual-threat quarterback McKenzie Milton enjoys the assistance of Adrian Killins Jr. and Otis Anderson in the backfield and receivers like Dredrick Snelson back from last year.

For the Knights, they need to remain disciplined to keep from giving their hosts any opening for that upset possibility. Last year UCF ranked fourth in the country in terms of penalties incurred. The Knights gave away an average of more than 68 yards on 8.4 penalties per game. The team most likely to beat the Knights on Thursday night is UCF themselves.

Betting Odds

Odds courtesy of oddsshark.com

Point Spread: UCF -23
Over/Under: 74

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Even if the Knights take eight or more penalties in East Hartford, it is highly unlikely that UConn is going to manage to come anywhere near covering the point spread. Last year’s top-rated offense will put up another 50-plus on the scoreboard as they open the Heupel era with a 14th game in a row. The days of the Civil ConFLiCT are long over, and the Knights will take no prisoners on their visit to Rentschler Field.

Final Score: UCF 55, UConn 17