On Saturday the Knights (8-3, 6-1) will have a chance to earn a trip back to Tulsa for the Conference USA Championship game with a win against the UAB Blazers (3-8, 2-5). Last week's loss against the Golden Hurricane was a tough one for the Knights, by the squad knows it needs to move on and it can still accomplish its goal of winning a division and conference championship in the Knights' final season in Conference USA.
One area the Knights are hoping to improve on from last week is the running game. Senior back Latavius Murray ran for just 60 yards in the game, which ended a streak of four consecutive 100+ rushing yard games for the New York native.
"We need to establish this run game again and get it going," senior offensive lineman Jordan Rae said. "Looking back from the last two weeks we made a lot of mistakes up front, stupid little mistakes that we shouldn't have."
"Everything is not as crisp as it should have been so the coaches have been making it an issue to get back to the fundamentals of base blocking and getting up to the backers and stuff like that," continued Rae.
The Blazers will arrive at Bright House Networks Stadium with an offense led by freshman quarterback Austin Brown. UCF head coach George O'Leary said during his weekly press conference that the young signal caller has improved in every game he's played. Brown has thrown for 2,470 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Senior defensive back Kemal Ishmael says this isn't your typical 3-8 squad.
"They have good skill position kids," Ishmael said. "They just have a lot of speed on their team. Give credit to their offensive coordinator and their coach for putting together their schemes well and making plays in space."
Making plays is something the Knights hope to do against the Blazers. Last year, making plays was what helped UAB defeat UCF. The Blazer made a 40-yard field goal with only 21 seconds remaining in the contest to knock the Knights out 26-24.
"We keep it in the back of our head, what happened last year," Murray said. "We know what's most important and we know what we have to get done."