Heupel Hits: vs. Temple Preview

ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – By the time Thursday night’s American Athletic Conference East Division clash with Temple rolls around, the Knights will have had 12 days in between outings. No. 9 UCF’s last contest was the 37-10 victory at East Carolina on Oct. 20.

Head coach Josh Heupel was asked if his team might have a bit of rust on them with a nearly two-week layoff between games.

“You certainly don’t want it,” Heupel said, chuckling. “It’s just a few extra days that we’ve had off. Practices have been good. They’ve been sharp. Preparation … they’ve been focused. I think they’re excited and ready for the opportunity.”

The opportunity Heupel speaks of is facing a Temple squad that is undefeated in AAC action. The Owls started slowly, dropping their first two games to Villanova and Buffalo. Temple bounced back and has won five of six and may be playing as well as anyone in The American. For comparison, the only common opponent for the Knights and Owls was ECU. Temple dispatched the Pirates 49-6.

“They’re a really good football team,” Heupel said. “You’re going to face good football teams in this conference every single week. But, certainly, the way they’ve played after the first couple weeks of the season (has been impressive). Their physical. They make you earn everything in all three phases of the game. They don’t give you anything. It’s a football team that’s really confident. It’s a huge test for us.”

With both teams sitting 4-0 in conference play, the winner of this contest will be alone in first place in the American Athletic Conference East division standings and control its own destiny with regard to a berth in the conference title game in December.

Of course, one of the hot topics of conversation in Heupel’s final meeting with the media prior to Thursday’s game is the health of starting quarterback McKenzie Milton, who did not play in the victory at East Carolina.

“Medically, they feel like he’s moving in the right direction, obviously with the extra time,” Heupel said, noting it will likely be a game-time decision on his QB’s playing status. “But, again, it will through warmups how we feel.”

The Knights and Owls tee it up at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night at Spectrum Stadium. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. The radio broadcast is available locally on FM 96.9 The Game and worldwide on the iHeartRadio app.

Tickets are going fast for the rest of the 2018 campaign. Fans can purchase theirs today and learn about all their options by calling (407) 823-1000 or visiting us online at https://ucfknights.co/18fbtix.