The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Florida Football Friday (Thursday Edition): UCF Heads North to Take on Pitt

Florida Football Friday (Thursday Edition): UCF Heads North to Take on Pitt

UCF looks to beat Power 5 team for second straight week
Sports Illustrated

No. 15 UCF will go for a second win over a Power 5 team in as many weeks on Saturday as the Knights head north to take on Pittsburgh.

UCF blasted Stanford a week ago, 45-27, and will look to avoid its first regular season loss since 2016. UCF is led by freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who has 10 total touchdowns, no interception and a passer rating that ranks fourth in the country. There is no shortage of talent around him with a stable of running backs to include Greg McCrae, Adrian Killins and Bentavious Thompson to go with a big-play wide receiver in Gabriel Davis.

The Knights rank third in the country in total offense and 13th in total defense. Nate Evans is the team leader with 18 tackles and 4.5 stops for loss, but UCF may be best in the secondary. Headlining that unit is junior Richie Grant.

Pittsburgh is just 1-2 on the year, but both losses were competitive and to current ranked teams. Led by defensive end Jaylen Twyman’s 4.5 sacks, the Panthers are allowing just 19 points per game defensively.

The problem has been on the other side of the ball as Pittsburgh has not scored more than 20 points in any contest. The Panthers have had to replace a pair of 1,000-yard rushers in Darrin Hall and Qadree Ollison and to this point are averaging just 2.8 yards per carry. Quarterback Kenny Pickett has been asked to do more and ranks second in the ACC with 878 yards passing.

For Pittsburgh to pull the upset on Saturday, it will have to find a way to put points on the scoreboard and play a solid game defensively. UCF topped the Panthers last season in Orlando, 45-14. Saturday’s contest begins at 3:30 p.m. ET and airs on ABC.

Prediction: UCF 34, Pittsburgh 21

Other Games From Across the State

College Football

Florida International (1-2) at Louisiana Tech (2-1)
Friday, Sept. 20 at 8 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

Butch Davis’ Florida International team picked up its first win of the season last week against New Hampshire and will now head to Shreveport to take on a Louisiana Tech team that is 2-1, but hasn’t been particularly impressive. Quarterback J’Mar Smith however, is a player to keep an eye on for the Bulldogs.
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 24, Florida International 19

Tennessee (1-2) at No. 8 Florida (3-0)
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)

A rivalry that once had major SEC East implications has been dominated by Florida in recent years. The Gators looked vulnerable early on last week, but scored the game’s final 19 points without quarterback Feleipe Franks to down Kentucky, 29-21. The Volunteers have losses to Georgia State and BYU.
Prediction: Florida 31, Tennessee 9

Louisville (2-1) at Florida State (1-2)
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Florida State is just 1-2 despite leading in the fourth quarter of every game this season and will look to beat Louisville for a second straight season. With a win, the Cardinals would surpass last season’s total and end an 8-game ACC losing streak.
Prediction: Florida State 31, Louisville 26

Central Michigan (2-1) at Miami (1-2)
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 4 p.m. ET (ACC Network)

After a 63-0 win over Bethune-Cookman, a home contest with Central Michigan should be another confidence-building game for first-year coach Manny Diaz and Miami.
Prediction: Miami 44, Central Michigan 14

Wagner (0-3) at Florida Atlantic (1-2)
Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

After opening with two ranked teams, Florida Atlantic won a shootout at Ball State. Confidence will continue to build this week for the duo of quarterback Chris Robison and receiver John Mitchell.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 52, Wagner 17


Tennessee Titans (1-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Thursday, Sept. 19 at 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

Both the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars lost winnable division games last week and by a combined three points. Gardner Minshew is playing well for Jacksonville and this one is at home.
Prediction: Jacksonville 19, Tennessee 16

Miami Dolphins (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Sunday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

The Miami Dolphins have been outscored 102-10 in their first two games and will be traveling to face a team that many think is the best in the NFC. Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott leads the NFL in completion percentage, touchdowns and ranks second in passer rating.
Prediction: Dallas 45, Miami 10

New York Giants (0-2) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Sunday, Sept. 22 at 4:05 p.m. (FOX)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a solid bounce-back win in Week 2 at the Carolina Panthers. Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones will make his first career start on Sunday for the New York Giants.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 27, Giants 17

Mike Ferguson is a contributor for The Grueling Truth, covering Florida sports and sports history. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. To keep up with all of his work, like his Facebook page.

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