Preview: #21/23 UCF at UConn

#21/23 UCF at UConn
Thursday | Aug. 30, 2018
ESPNU | Listen | Notes | Live Stats | Tickets

ORLANDO ( – After eight long months, UCF Football is finally back. The Josh Heupel era begins on Thursday night as the No. 21/23 Knights head to UConn to open the 2018 season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

Marc Daniels, Gary Parris and Jerry O'Neill will have the call on FM 96.9/AM 740 The Game, starting with the Florida Hospital Tailgate Show at 5 p.m.

Here are five things to know heading into Week 1:

The Knights enter the 2018 season with the longest active winning streak in the country at 13 games and on the back of a national championship campaign in 2017. With 17 starters returning, eight on offense, six on defense and three on special teams, UCF has set its sights on attacking another title, not defending its last one. UCF boasted the No. 1 scoring offense in the nation last season, averaging 48.2 points per game, with quarterback McKenzie Milton and a host of weapons returning.

Head Coach Josh Heupel enters his first year at the helm at UCF after he was hired in December of 2018. No stranger to offensive firepower, Heupel served as the offensive coordinator for the last two seasons at Missouri, where he turned the Tigers’ offense into the best in the Southeastern Conference with 500.5 yards per game and quarterback Drew Lock setting an SEC record with 43 touchdown passes. Heupel’s resume also features coaching Sam Bradford to the Heisman Trophy in 2006 at Oklahoma. 

Quarterback McKenzie Milton had one of the best statistical seasons in the nation last year and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting. As a sophomore, the Kapolei, Hawaii, native was tabbed as the Archie Griffin National Player of the Year, the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Offensive MVP and a Phil Steele All-American. Milton rewrote the UCF single-season record book for passing yards, passing touchdowns, total yards, quarterback rushing yards, passing efficiency and touchdowns responsible for in 2017, just to name a few.

Milton will have no shortage of weapons when he steps on the field Thursday night. With the departures of Tre’Quan Smith, Jordan Akins and Jordan Franks, a host of receivers and tight ends have stepped up in their absence. Wideouts Gabriel Davis, Dredrick Snelson, Marlon Williams and newcomer Tre Nixon will stretch the field, while Adrian Killins Jr., Taj McGowan, Greg McCrae and utility back Otis Anderson will provide options out of the backfield. Michael Colubiale returns for his sixth year of eligibility. He is the only tight end on the roster with a catch at the NCAA FBS level.

The Huskies enter their second year of head coach Randy Edsall’s second stint with the program, after leading UConn to a 3-9 record in 2017. When the Huskies announced their depth chart earlier this week, 20 freshmen were listed as starters or backups, with only one defensive back listed older than a redshirt sophomore. UCF holds a 3-2 series lead over UConn after downing the Huskies 49-24 behind 519 yards of total offense last season.

Season tickets are going fast for the highly anticipated 2018 campaign. Fans can purchase theirs today and learn about all of their options by calling (407) 823-1000 or visiting us online at