This year's Knights squad has talked a lot about the 2010 UCF team. That unit went down as one of the greatest in school history. UCF finished the season ranked 21st in the AP poll, won its second Conference USA Championship and its first bowl game in the Liberty Bowl.
One thing that year's team has in common with this year's squad is both started the season 2-2 entering conference play. What helped the 2010 team do well during that portion of the schedule was its senior leadership. This year's seniors know that will play an important role in the outcome of the rest of the season.
"One thing when you look at the 2010 team is the seniors they had in Bruce Miller and how good of a job they did by leading by example," senior quarterback/receiver Rob Calabrese said. "We learned from them and we're really trying to emulate what they did."
With non-conference play over for UCF, the team is focused on Conference USA play and has already moved on from its loss to Missouri Saturday.
"Coach has been saying all week basically every game from here on out is the conference championship and each game is a must-win, especially conference games," senior punter Jamie Boyle said. "That's our goal every year to win the conference championship, so anytime we have an in-conference team coming to our place we definitely want to get a win."
Thursday night, the Knights will face conference foe East Carolina at home. The Pirates come to town undefeated in conference play at 2-0. The Knights are hoping this quick turnaround can help them get back in the win column.
"It's tough to shake things off from Saturday, but obviously we took the coaching and watched some film," Calabrese said. "Being on a short week we need to prepare for a Thursday game. We went through a Tuesday type practice today (Monday). Our guys have moved on and are ready to play Thursday night."
The Knights will play eight conference games in the regular season and will play two in a row at home.
"You have to be mentally tough to be a football player and you have to take coaching and understand what needs to be done," Calabrese said. "Obviously, this is conference play, so this is the most important thing for us. We're treating every game from now on like the conference championship."