George O'Leary's teams have written a lot of records in the history books at UCF and have helped build the football program into what it is today. On Saturday, the Knights will have another chance at history when they face the No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
If UCF wins it will be the team's first ever victory against a ranked, non-conference opponent. A win against a team with the type of success Ohio State has had will earn the Knights national attention and will continue to build UCF's strong reputation in the college football world.
"We're still trying to strive to that and I think we have an opportunity to go out and at least on that football field that day have an opportunity to go out and show what we can do," UCF head coach George O'Leary said. "That's the challenge I'll present to the kids."
The opportunity to play Ohio State was something O'Leary didn't want to turn down. During his weekly press conference, the longtime UCF head coach even said he is willing to play any team in the nation.
"It's why you play Division I football," O'Leary said. "To play in games like this and that's the challenge I'll pose to the team as far as practice is concerned and the game is concerned."
The Knights received 11 votes in this week's Top 25 USA Today's Coaches Poll and four votes in the Top 25 AP Poll. The team is riding a lot of momentum following its 56-14 season opening victory at Akron.
Sophomore quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 168 yards and three touchdowns against the Zips, while sophomore receiver Rannell Hall caught four receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The Knights will need both of those players to play well to increase UCF's chances for a win.
"I think they're eager to play good competition," O'Leary said. "I think most competitors are like that. I always say you respect everybody and fear none. I think that's the motto I've always had with the team."
"You give respect because they certainly deserve it," O'Leary continued about OSU. "They've had a long history of winning [and] winning championships."
Speaking of championships, the Knights are working towards their third and final Conference USA Championship, before they join the Big East next season. A game like this will help prepare UCF for the competition it will face in the conference.
"In the non-conference, I always try to get a schedule that's very competitive," O'Leary said. "Players win big games. I think coaches try to get them in the right spots, but players have to make plays in big games. That's what it's all about."
Kick off against the Buckeyes is set for noon on Sept. 8th in Columbus, Ohio.