Knight Notes: UCF Football ready for Maryland challenge

Courtesy UCF Athletics Communications

After a two-week hiatus due to Hurricane Irma, it’s finally game week again for UCF Football. The Knights (1-0) travel to Maryland (2-0) to face the Terrapins Saturday at 3 p.m. in what’s predicted to be a close matchup.

Getting Revenge: Last season, the Knights fell just short to the Terrapins 30-24 in a heartbreaking double overtime loss at home. It was sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton’s first collegiate start when the two teams met last season, and with a year of experience under his belt, he should be a key factor in Saturday afternoon’s game.

“We are coming into this game angry at them from last game because they got us in double overtime,” sophomore offensive lineman Jordan Johnson said. “I just remember that game, I do remember it, and I remember the feeling that I had after the game more than anything. I just felt sick to my stomach that we just lost in double overtime and we were in it the whole time, and just a string of events at the end made us lose.”

Topping Maryland will not be an easy task however, as the Big Ten program is showing its depth early on this season, knocking off the University of Texas 51-41 in week one.

“I just feel like this year is gonna be a little different,” junior wide receiver Cam Stewart said. “I think that we are more detailed in our assignments and know what we are supposed to do now and so I feel like we will execute.”

Recovering From Irma: With a two week break in hand, the UCF Football program focused some of its efforts on helping the local community.

“Our players really answered the call and we didn’t make it mandatory, but we told them we had some opportunities to help people in the community, “Frost said. “And the guys responded in force.”

Players in the program helped with a number of different groups. Some players helped with sandbags, others helped at a local food bank, and some served dinner to members of the National Guard that were staying at Spectrum Stadium.

“It was a chance for us to give back to our community as like leaders in our community and I really enjoyed that because I’m all about giving back,” redshirt-senior defensive lineman Tony Guerad said. “It’s not all about like the things that you are, but what you do for the world and it was just a great experience.”

Team Chemistry: As a result of helping out the community and hunkering down together for the storm, many players found themselves growing closer together than in the past seasons.

“This team that we have this year is gonna respond to any curveballs thrown at them a lot better than I think our team last year would have,” Frost said. “And a lot of that has to do with how close these guys are.”

The Knights hope that this new chemistry will transfer onto the field on Saturday.

“We wanna shock the world,” Guerad said. “Everybody is probably thinking we are gonna lose, but we are gonna go out there and shock the world.”

About Sarah Kelliher 58 Articles
Sarah Kelliher is a photographer and staff writer covering UCF Football for Knight Sports Now. You can follow her on Twitter at @sarahkelliher4.