UCF Football: Can Knights close out season on positive note vs. USF?

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

UCF football is closing an up and down season against USF in the War on I-4. Can the Knights close out the season on a positive note?

After back-to-back undefeated regular seasons, UCF football is looking to close out this regular season on a high note. They take on lowly South Florida in the War on I-4, one of the rising rivalries in all of college football. These two schools don’t hold back their distaste with each other, which stretches back to USF’s big brother attitude towards the Knights when the Bulls were in the Big East.

For the Knights, they’ve taken a hold on this rivalry the last couple of seasons, including their last time at home beating USF on a game-winning kick return by Mike Hughes.

The 2019 UCF Knights have been up and down, losing some bad games and having trouble closing out teams throughout the season. They bounced back from their loss to Tulsa by holding on to beat Tulane, but that was another game in which they looked unconvincing, particularly in the fourth quarter.

Fans have been upset, but that’s a good thing for the Knights. It’s showed that the expectations now sit at another level for this program, and they look to cap off the season with 10 wins, which means they just have won out.

The Bulls season has been a different kind of disappointment. Outside of a win against BYU, this team has looked lifeless, and unless the Bulls can pull of the upset, this game will be the end of the Charlie Strong tenure. I’m not sure where this program can go in the group of five, but they don’t even look competitive compared to UCF.

Here’s how to watch the War on I-4:

Date: Friday, Nov. 29
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Orlando, Fla.
Venue: Spectrum Stadium
Live Stream: WatchESPN

Keys to Victory

For the Knights, the keys to victory is more of the same from the offense. UCF is No. 4 in total offense while USF is No. 59 in total defense, so there’s a major competitive advantage. Dillon Gabriel has been terrific as a true freshman, but the rushing offense is No. 24 in the country, and goes up against the Bulls No. 116 in rushing defense, allowing 206 rushing yards per game (Charlie Strong was a defensive coordinator prodigy. This defense is embarrassing).

Adrian Killins and Greg McCrae will be major factors in this one, and they should both have a lot of room to run. They make one of the best running back tandems in the country, and Killins, in his final game against USF, should have a big day.

For the Bulls, there’s one spot where they may be able to take advantage: turnovers. South Florida is tied for third in the country with 24 takeaways on the season, and UCF averages 1.27 turnovers per game.

If the Bulls can stop the Knights by taking care of the ball, and giving their struggling offense short field to try to score some points.

Betting Odds

Courtesy of The Action Network

Line: UCF -23.5


UCF has a definitive talent advantage over USF. The Knights are faster on offense, have a huge advantage in the run game, and are trending in the right direction, while the Bulls will be looking for a new coach in the offseason.

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I don’t think USF will be able to generate the turnovers needed to win this one. Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins will each have over 100 yards rushing, and the Knights will win this one big.

Prediction: UCF 44, USF 17