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Knights Send the Owls into another Galaxy at this Years “Space Game”

Kevyn Bryant II

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© sportsclubflorida.com

A Day in Space with the Citronauts!

The University of Central Florida’s sixth annual “Space Game” was ready for takeoff.
It’s actually the start of the game.

In a game themed by space, the 6th Annual “Space Game” at UCF had an astronomical ending with the Knights beating the Temple Owls 13-70. The Thursday night game was televised by ESPN and boy did the Knights put on a show. This was the Knight’s fourth and final midweek game of the season.

The evening was filled with nostalgia, for the former glory of the school in the form of the mascot “Citronaut” and space references could be found throughout the entire evening. Everyone from the sideline staff to the fans in the stands sported “Space U” shirts and apparel instead of the traditional UCF gear.

UCF Citronaut Arriving in their “Space U” Uniforms | © sportsclubflorida.com

A Bit of Historical History

In 1978, the Florida Technological University changed its name to Central Florida and became the Knights. Space exploration has remained a highly coveted craft at UCF with nearly 1/3 of the employees at Kennedy Space Center being UCF alumni.

Dominating UCF Offense Performance

Prior to the match, points could have been hard to come by. UCF ranked number 12 nationally in scoring defense, limiting opponents to 14.6 points per game, while Temple ranks number 13, limiting opponents to 16.8 points per game.

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Isaiah Bowser 5 Yard TD Run in the First Quarter | © sportsclubflorida.com

UCF has also led the nation in red zone defense, allowing just four touchdowns in 19 possessions inside their own 20-yard line.

In their last match, the Knights pulled away from SMU in the second half, posting 31 unanswered points in a 41-19 conference victory. John Rhys Plumlee tallied 300 passing yards for the third time in five starts, and Isaiah Bowser added three rushing touchdowns.

In addition to winning each of the last five matchups against UCF, Temple has been beaten 5-0 in Space Game competitions, scoring at least 40 points four times.

Plumlee had an outstanding performance, accounting for 373 yards and four touchdowns through the air as well as an additional 37 yards on the ground with three more touchdowns. All of UCF’s short-yardage touchdowns and a 25-yard pass to Kobe Hudson was included in the first half as the Knights built a 35-13 lead.

Kobe Hudson 25 Yd pass from John Rhys Plumlee © sportsclubflorida.com

In the early part of the third quarter, Plumlee hooked up with Ryan O’Keefe for a 68-yard touchdown pass on back-to-back drives. Plumlee later threw an 64-yard touchdown pass to Hudson that increased the Knights’ lead to 56-13 midway through the third. Hudson finished with four catches for 121 yards receiving and O’Keefe had seven for 111.

Temple (2-4, 0-2) was limited to 293 yards of offense in UCF’s (6-0, 3-0) 737-yard performance. It was the Owls’ seventh straight loss to the Knights and the third time this season they were held to less than 400 yards. The Knights gained 798 yards of offense against Memphis on October 17, 2020, their most this season.

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QB EJ Warner for Temple Throws a Pass | 24-43, 234 YDS, 1 TD | © sportsclubflorida.com

It was truly an experience to be at an annual “Space Game”. 7-0 is the record of the Knights’ spaced-themed games.

As UCF hits the road, the challenges for the season begin. With a solid win under the belt, turnovers limited, and penalties practically nonexistent, the Knights use this momentum and charge on against East Carolina.

UCF Knights

UCF Knights Secure Centerpiece Big Man for 2024-25 Season

UCF’s men’s basketball team has just secured the service of a big-time talent after blue chip big man Moustapha Thiam decided to reclassify for 2024-25 season.

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Moustapha Thiam

UCF’s men’s basketball team has just secured the service of a big-time talent after blue chip big man Moustapha Thiam decided to reclassify, making him eligible to play for the Knights this coming college basketball season.

Thiam, the No.1 center in ESPN’s class of 2025, will anchor the Knights’ defense in their second season in the Big 12.

The 7-foot-2 Senegalese impressed scouts with his terrific play at the Adidas 3SSB circuit, serving as the focal point of Austin Rivers SE Elite in the tournament. In 28 minutes per game, he averaged 5.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 blocks and 1.0 steals.

 

 

With Thiam joining a roster of seniors and promising young players, Johnny Dawkins’ UCF Knights is expected to outperform their surprising 7-11 record in their Big 12 debut last season.

UCF has retained the service of Jaylin Sellers and Darius Johnson, the two top-scorers from last season, and secured commitments from a slew of transferees such as JJ Taylor and Mikey Williams from Memphis, Keyshawn Hall from George Mason, and Deebo Coleman from Georgia Tech.

The program has successfully recruited Cameron Simpson, a local standout from Oak Ridge in Orlando, Florida.

Scouting Report Provides Things to Expect from Moustapha Thiam

Moustapha Thiam is an enticing prospect because of his large 7-foot-2 size, impressive length, and quick-twitch movement.

As a true center, he can open his hips, glide laterally, and recover from switches.

While he has to gain muscle, especially considering his slight foundation and narrow shoulders, he is an excellent rim protector who can influence ball movement and play from the weak side.

Thiam possesses a nice touch for pick-and-pop jumpers with his feet set and good hands for passes at chest level or higher.

As he continues to develop in each game, he will improve his decision-making skills. His size and physical tools set him apart from his contemporaries.

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Building Relationships with the Community: Gus Malzahn Winning Strategy

Tramayne Wright

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Coach Lo discusses how Gus Malzahn identifies the key figures within the local community in Central Florida.

 

Gus Malzahn had a vision. He saw the potential in the local sports scene and knew he had to seize the opportunity. Coach Lo Wood vividly remembers the strategic move that set Malzahn apart: reaching out to key figures in the community.

“The first thing I recognized about Gus was how he instantly reached out to the guys in the community,” Coach Wood shared. “He called me up and said, ‘I want to be in a relationship with you.’ And it wasn’t just talk. Gus meant it. He wanted to build something real.”

Mazzone’s approach wasn’t just about forming superficial connections. He sought out genuine relationships with influential community members. Soon, other notable figures like AG Waseem and Ellis Danley were echoing the same sentiment. “Next thing you know, there’s AG Waseem saying the same thing, ‘I want to be in a relationship with you.’ Then he calls Ellis Danley with the same message. It was clear that Gus was building a network of trust and cooperation,” Coach Wood explained.

These were not random choices. The individuals Malzahn reached out to were deeply embedded in the community, and respected for their roles and commitment to the local youth. “Who are all these guys he’s been in a relationship with?” Coach Wood asked. “They’re the guys from the community, the ones who have the kids with them every day. They’re the mentors, the coaches, the father figures.”

Malzahn vision was to ensure that talented athletes didn’t feel the need to leave their hometown to find success. “I knew right then that a lot of athletes were going to stay home and be hometown heroes,” Coach Wood stated. “That’s the way to do it.”

He elaborated on the significance of this approach. “When you have someone like Gus, who invests in the community and builds these relationships, it creates a support system for the kids. They see that they can achieve their dreams right here, with the people who have always been there for them. It’s about pride, it’s about belonging, and it’s about giving back.”

Coach Wood believes this method will have a lasting impact. “What Gus is doing isn’t just about winning games. It’s about building character, fostering community spirit, and creating a legacy. These kids are not just athletes; they’re future leaders, and Gus is showing them that they can lead from their own backyard.”

Malzahn efforts are not just about creating successful athletes; they are about nurturing future leaders who can lead from their own community. By building a strong foundation within the local sports scene, Gus Malzahn is making a lasting impact that will benefit the community for generations to come.

 

 

Coach Lo talks about The Importance of Building a Strong Community for the UCF Knights

 

 

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UCF Knights

UCF Football Set for Black Friday Showdown with Utah Utes on Nov. 29

UCF Football announced the date of their Black Friday football game against the Utah Utes.

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UU vs. UCF

UCF Football announced the date of their Black Friday football game against the Utah Utes.

Fox Sports will broadcast the Knights’ final regular-season match on their 2024 college football schedule on November 29 from the FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The Knights had a solid run during their maiden season in their new league, finishing with 3-6 Big 12 record and 6-7 overall.

UCF won their first three games against Kent State, Boise State, and Villanova before pulling off a signature upset win over the No.15 ranked Oklahoma State, 45-3, last November 11.

Expectations are high for the Knights this coming season after securing the service of two-time Bowl Games MVP KJ Jefferson. The quarterback spent his first five years in Arkansas, setting most of the passing records for the Razorbacks.

UCF also bolstered other areas of their offense following the transfer of elite running back Peny Boone from Maryland and wide receiver Agiye Hall from Texas.

The Knights’ Black Friday game opponent, Utah, will debut in the Big 12 this season after capping their Pac 12 run with an 8-5 season (5-4 conference).

 

 

UCF Football will kick off their second season in the Big 12 on August 29 against New Hampshire at home field.

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