Having defeated Bethune-Cookman 48-21 on Saturday, the Owls are operating on a short week. UCF, on the other hand, had its game scheduled game at North Carolina canceled because of Hurricane Florence, giving the Knights extra time to prepare for the Owls.
“Obviously they are going to be really fresh,” FAU coach Lane Kiffin said. “There will probably be a lot of plays in this game with their game being canceled, so they’re all rested up. We’re going to try to limit how much we practice to make sure that we have our legs.”
UCF enters Friday (7 p.m., ESPN) riding the nation’s longest winning streak, 15 games.
The Owls lost what was then a second-best nationally 10 game winning streak with a blowout defeat at then-No. 7 Oklahoma in the season opener. FAU regrouped in the weeks that followed to defeat Air Force and and B-CU.
A 29-point lead early in Saturday’s second half did afford Kiffin a chance to rest some of his starters against the Wildcats. The ability to give younger players much needed game experience could counterbalance the benefit UCF received from the unexpected early-season rest.
“I’m sure they were glad that game was canceled,” Kiffin said. “Ours worked out well, I think, from the standpoint of getting to play a lot of backups and gaining some experience for them, I’m glad we had it.”
UCF didn’t lose a game last season and opened this year by defeated Connecticut 56-17 and South Carolina St. 38-0.
UConn and S. C. State are a combined 1-4 on the season, with lone win by Connecticut over FCS level Rhode Island.
“These guys are playing as well anyone in the country and they’re rested up,” Kiffin said.
Central Florida averaged more than 600 yards in its first two games on 7.6 yards per play.
While many across the nation didn’t believe UCF’s perfect regular season warranted a berth in last season’s college football playoffs – and the selection committee agreed, snubbing the Knights – Kiffin isn’t selling Central Florida’s talent short.
“I told the staff after watching these guys both sides, that I feel like we’re playing an SEC team,” Kiffin said.