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UCF Knights

UCF Locks in Bowl Appearance with Houston Defeat

Kevyn Bryant II

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sportsclubflorida.com | Tramayne Wright

In a triumphant showdown at FBC Mortgage Stadium, the UCF football team secured a 27-13 victory against the Houston Cougars on a Saturday afternoon, clinching their eligibility for a bowl game for the eighth consecutive season. This remarkable feat solidifies UCF’s status with the longest bowl eligibility streak in the state of Florida.

Honoring more than 30 seniors in a pregame ceremony, the Knights (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) showcased their prowess by amassing a formidable 476 yards offensively while stifling the Cougars (4-8, 2-7) to a mere 260 yards. The Black and Gold’s defensive mastery held Houston to just 94 rushing yards, marking the fourth occasion this season that UCF has limited an opponent to fewer than 100 rushing yards.

The Knights wasted no time asserting their dominance, scoring touchdowns on each of their first two drives and seizing a 13-10 lead early in the second quarter. From that point onward, UCF never trailed, thanks to a well-coordinated offense and a resolute defense that propelled the team to their sixth win of the season.

Running back RJ Harvey continued his stellar form, surpassing 100 rushing yards for the sixth time in the last seven games, amassing an impressive 136 yards with a pair of rushing touchdowns. Harvey’s season total of 1,296 rushing yards now ranks as the fourth-highest in a single season in UCF history, accompanied by 16 rushing touchdowns, tying for the second-most in a single season in program history.

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Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee orchestrated the offensive symphony with precision, completing 23 of 27 passes for 253 yards, including a touchdown. Plumlee showcased his dual-threat capabilities by rushing 15 times for 58 yards and adding another touchdown with an eight-yard dash into the end zone.

Plumlee’s favorite target in this commanding performance was wide receiver Kobe Hudson, who hauled in a career-high nine passes for 98 yards, including an impressive 37 yards after the catch. Tight end Alec Holler also contributed significantly, catching five passes for 44 yards, achieving a season high and matching his career best.

Houston managed to score on their opening possession, but UCF swiftly responded with a 13-play, 94-yard drive to even the score at 7-7. Plumlee’s connection with Hudson and a quarterback keeper for a rushing touchdown showcased the Knights’ resilience.

UCF’s defense played a pivotal role, forcing a field goal attempt after a crucial stop on 3rd and 7 at the 15-yard line. The Knights capitalized on this momentum, taking a 13-10 lead on their next drive, with Plumlee connecting with Xavier Townsend for a pivotal touchdown.

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Entering the halftime break with a narrow lead, UCF’s halftime focus paid off as they received the kickoff and executed a scoring drive. A 57-yard pass from Plumlee to Javon Baker set the stage for Harvey’s 21-yard touchdown run, extending UCF’s lead to 20-10.

The Knights maintained control in the third quarter, shutting down any hopes of a Houston comeback. A dominant defensive performance, led by Tre’mon Morris-Brash’s impactful sack and crucial stops from fifth-year linebacker Jason Johnson, secured the victory. Johnson’s standout game not only included key sacks but also marked his third consecutive season with over 100 tackles, an impressive feat.

Walter Yates also shone defensively, notching 12 tackles, including five solo stops. With the Big 12 regular season now concluded, UCF awaits the announcement of their bowl game selection on Sunday, Dec. 3, eager to continue their tradition of postseason excellence.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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).

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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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