Having won its last two games in dominant fashion, UCF breezed its way through another game on Saturday night, soundly beating Temple at the Bounce House by a score of 38-13.
The victory kept already-slim conference championship hopes alive for the Knights (5-2, 4-2 AAC), though they will need to win their final two games and get some big-time help elsewhere if they want a shot at returning to the AAC title game after missing out last year.
This coming Saturday, plenty of attention will be on Orlando, as UCF hosts No. 7 Cincinnati (7-0, 5-0 AAC). The Knights will be looking to avenge last season’s road loss to the Bearcats while also playing spoiler to their outside shot at crashing the College Football Playoff. The game, which will kick off at 3:30 p.m., is easily the biggest of UCF’s season. But before we get there, it’s time for our weekly Knights of the Round Table feature.
A reminder of how this works: After each of UCF’s games, we’ll decide which Knights were the top performers, and those guys will get a seat at that week’s round table. The top performer will fittingly get the seat at the head of the table. OK, let’s go.
Seat 1: Greg McCrae (10 carries, 36 yards, 2 TD, 3.6 AVG)
Ten carries for 36 yards alone as a stat line won’t raise any eyebrows, but that wasn’t the important part of Greg McCrae’s game against Temple on Saturday night. The senior found the end zone twice, helping UCF get out to a 7-0 lead before extending that lead to 21-0. Despite his production more or less ending there, McCrae was still a major factor in the Knights’ victory, as his nose for the goal line helped them turn the defense’s strong start into a big lead in the first quarter. And while his run of 100-yard rushing games stopped at two, he has still scored at least one touchdown in four straight games. That has gotten him to 26 career rushing scores, which puts him ahead of Adrian Killins (25) for fifth-most in program history. Even if he doesn’t elect to use the extra year of eligibility in 2021, he has a great shot at getting as high as fourth on that list, as he needs just two more to pass Alex Haynes (27).
This is Greg McCrae’s fourth appearance on Knights of the Round Table.
Seat 2: Otis Anderson (10 carries, 83 yards, TD, 8.3 AVG)
Otis Anderson continued his strong “farewell tour” on Saturday night with another impressive performance. The senior running back continued to run hard and produce at a high level, putting up 83 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries. For him to put up those kinds of numbers—including an average of 8.3 yards per carry—on limited touches was impressive, and his touchdown run itself was a great one. He gave UCF a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after breaking a tackle and spinning his way out of another for a 14-yard touchdown. Anderson has been one of the bigger keys to the Knights’ success this season, and a big game from him on Saturday against Cincinnati would go a long way in terms of giving the underdogs a chance at the home upset. He would certainly like to put the right finishing touches on what has been a great career with the Knights.
This is Otis Anderson’s third appearance on Knights of the Round Table.
Seat 3: Tre’mon Morris-Brash (6 tackles, 6 solo, 2 tackles for loss)
The UCF defense was a big part of the story on Saturday night, as it held the Owls to just 13 points. Sophomore Tre’mon Morris-Brash continued to shine in this game, posting six solo tackles, including two tackles for loss. The Knights defense as a whole had nine tackles for loss in the game, and Morris-Brash’s performance from his defensive end spot stood out specifically. While he has flashed signs of outstanding potential at different points in the last couple of seasons, it seems like he is truly becoming one of the bigger bright spots on this defense not only for the future but also in the present. With four defensive starters dismissed from the team, Randy Shannon’s unit could have folded and mailed it in for the rest of the season. Rather than do that, though, it has turned in its best performances of the season in back-to-back games. Morris-Brash has been one of the guys to step up and make a big difference, and it’ll be exciting to see what’s ahead in his future at UCF.
This is Tre’mon Morris-Brash’s first appearance on Knights of the Round Table.
Seat 4: Marlon Williams (4 catches, 102 yards, 2 TD, 25.5 AVG)
There isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about the season Marlon Williams is having. If there hasn’t been Biletnikoff Award buzz for the senior already, there should be after Saturday night. He posted just four catches, but those four went for 102 yards and two touchdowns. One of those catches was a 50-yarder that came as a result of an unbelievable effort. Catching a pass from Dillon Gabriel, Williams broke through a tackle and stumbled forward, catching himself from going down continuously before he was finally stopped at the Temple 4-yard line. That set up the Knights’ third touchdown of the night, and from there, he went on to score twice. His two touchdowns brought his season total to eight, which is tied for the third-most in the country. Williams also ranks second in the nation in receiving yards with 942. It’s been a phenomenal year for him, and he has a chance to finish it strong and give himself some serious NFL Draft buzz.
This is Marlon Williams’ fifth appearance on Knights of the Round Table.
Head of the Table: Eriq Gilyard (12 tackles, 7 solo, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss, FF, FR
The Knights defense was fantastic on Saturday against Temple, thanks in large part to Eriq Gilyard setting the tone early. On the game’s first drive, Gilyard got to the quarterback and legitimately snatched the ball out of his hands to give possession to the Knights’ offense. He returned the ball to the Owls’ 16-yard line, which set up UCF’s first touchdown of the night. The junior linebacker deserves props for that tone-setting play alone, but he didn’t stop there. He was dominant throughout the night, totaling 12 tackles, with three going for a loss. The Knights have plenty of playmakers on their defense, so it’s sometimes easy to overlook just how impressive Gilyard is. He has had a strong collegiate career already, and he is proving to be one of the defense’s leaders this year. With a huge game against Cincinnati up next, UCF needs Gilyard—and the defense as a whole—to keep stepping up and playing at a high level.
This is Eriq Gilyard’s second appearance on Knights of the Round Table and his first appearance at the Head of the Table.