Central Florida Knights vs. Memphis Tigers Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 5th 2022

Stadium: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Memphis
Logo Central Florida Knights
Logo Memphis Tigers

-8 +198
61.5o -110



UCF just passed a pressure-packed test, one that coach Gus Malzahn admittedly would have preferred his team not have to take.

Now the Knights, No. 25 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings, have to prove they can win on the road.

UCF (6-2, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) travels to Memphis (4-4, 2-3) on Saturday afternoon.

The Knights are coming off a 25-21 home win over conference power Cincinnati, which was 20th in the AP poll a week ago and was a CFP playoff team last season. Leading 10-6 in the third quarter, UCF twice fumbled in the red zone.

Those missed opportunities loomed large when they trailed 13-12 entering the fourth.

Led by not-so-ordinary backup quarterback Mikey Keene, UCF capped a 77-yard drive with a touchdown with 4:36 left to take an 18-13 lead, surrendered a TD and two-point conversion about 1 1/2 minutes later and trailed 21-18, then responded again with RJ Harvey's 17-yard scoring run with 48 seconds left.

"During the game, I wish we had scored (instead of the turnovers) and won by 17 points," Malzahn said Monday. "But after it played out like it did, I'm glad it did that, 'cause that's what our team needed.

"In college football, there's very few times that you get a chance to, (when) the pressure is really on, either get it done or you don't. Are you going to respond? And our team responded in a couple situations like that."

The Knights have won five of their past six games, but the loss in that bunch was a 34-13 setback at East Carolina on Oct. 22, when they had four turnovers and no takeaways.

"I really feel strong that we'll learn from that experience. There's more parity in college football than ever before, and every week you need to bring your 'A' game, and obviously we didn't do that. Lesson learned," Malzahn said.

UCF's biggest question is who will be at quarterback on Saturday. Starter John Rhys Plumlee took a huge hit from a Cincinnati defender in the second quarter and then appeared wobbly as he tried to return to the field. He was removed with an apparent head injury.

Plumlee won the job this season over Keene, the 2021 starter as a freshman, and has thrown for 1,883 yards and 11 touchdowns and run for a team-high 532 yards plus seven scores in 2022. UCF enters the weekend fifth in the nation in total offense (510.2 yards per game) and 24th in scoring (35.8 points per game).

"We've got two guys, I think, obviously we can win with," Malzahn said. "I think everybody knew that coming in, but we'll just take it day by day with John Rhys right now. ... We'll see what happens."

The Tigers, meanwhile, have lost three straight games: by one point to Houston, by two points in four overtimes at East Carolina and by 10 at Tulane, which sits 19th in the CFP rankings.

What Memphis lacks in momentum, it has in scheduling. It is coming off a bye week.

"Any time you have a bye week that's really Week 9, talk about a lot of football," Tigers coach Ryan Silverfield said. "Training camp started three days earlier this year, so you think about it, we've been really going at it since Aug. 1.

"(The bye) gave us the chance to do some modified practices, make sure we are healthy, and I feel comfortable with where we're at from a health standpoint."

The Tigers are preparing for both Plumlee and Keene.

"Both have a unique skill set," Silverfield said. "Coach Malzahn is going to do what he does on offense, regardless of who the quarterback is, but they do have different things they bring to the table, so we've got to be ready for that as part of our preparation this week."

Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan, a sophomore, has thrown for 2,236 yards and 15 touchdowns with five interceptions. He has been sacked 24 times.

--Field Level Media

Central Florida Knights
Memphis Tigers

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Central Florida Knights vs. Memphis Tigers

Central Florida's Daniel Obarski missed a 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds remaining, enabling Memphis to snap a 13-game losing streak to the Knights with a wild 50-49 win Saturday at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium at Memphis.

Memphis quarterback Brady White completed 34 of 50 pass attempts for 486 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions in a prolific passing duel with UCF's Dillon Gabriel.

The Knights' sophomore quarterback completed 35 of 49 passes for a school-record 601 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.

White completed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Calvin Austin with 1:08 remaining in regulation to put Memphis (2-1, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) ahead 50-49.

After White's 2-point conversion run attempt failed, UCF took possession at its 25-yard with 1:08 left.

Gabriel led the Knights 53 yards to Memphis' 22-yard line before Obarski's failed field goal went wide left.

The Knights' (2-2, 1-2) last lost to Memphis when the Tigers won the first game of the series in 1990.

The game included 1,501 yards of total offense for both teams, 798 by UCF. Memphis, which rallied from a three-touchdown deficit in the third quarter, finished with 703.

White's 22-yard scoring strike to Kylan Watkins with 3:41 left cut the lead to 49-44. The teams combined to score five touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

UCF was forced to punt on its next possession, setting up Memphis' chance to pull out the win. Memphis took possession with 2:38 remaining. White's touchdown pass to Austin capped a nine-play, 85-yard drive that took only 1:30.

Austin finished with nine catches for 151 yards. Tahj Washington had seven receptions for 131 yards.

Marlon Williams finished with 13 receptions for 191 yards and Jaylon Robinson had 10 catches for 173 yards for UCF.

Ryan O'Keefe, who had four catches for 175 yards, scored on a 93-yard catch-and-run play with 12:40 remaining in regulation. Gabriel completed another 2-point conversion pass to Williams to give UFC a 43-29 lead.

The 93-yard pass is the longest completion in UCF history. It came after an 85-yard TD connection between Gabriel and Williams in the second quarter.

Gabriel is the first FBS quarterback with multiple 80-yard touchdown passes in a single game since Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes on Nov. 25, 2016 against Baylor.

--Field Level Media

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