GAME PREVIEW: WVU looks to keep UCF winless in conference play

By Zippy Zimmerman, RealWV

The UCF Knights look to win their first Big 12 conference game against a struggling Mountaineer team that’s currently on a two-game losing streak. Despite being winless in the conference, UCF put up a fight against the conference’s top ranked Oklahoma Sooners, in a 29-31 loss last week. Just as UCF looks to be coming into their own, West Virginia is seemingly falling apart following back-to-back losses to Houston and Oklahoma State—both games they were favored to win in. The Mountaineers will head down Orlando, Florida with a record of (4-3) to try and hold the Knights winless in conference play, at three wins, with their current (3-4) record.

West Virginia opened up the season playing some unexpected strong defense, but majorly struggled on the offensive side of the ball. That narrative seemed to flip during West Virginia’s last second loss in Houston, and continued to play out last week against Oklahoma. Garrett Greene has passed for a combined 640-yards in the last two weeks, but the West Virginia defense has given up an average of 44.5 points in the same period. Prior to the past two weeks, the Mountaineer’s defense was only giving up an average of 19 points per game.

Photo courtesy @wvufootball via. Instagram.

The Mountaineer’s game plan for the early half of the year was to wear down defenses through CJ Donaldson and the run game, and effective method through the first five games of the season. However, West Virginia now runs more of a balanced attack with a mix of the run and pass game following their success with the pass against the Houston Cougars. Contributors to the pass game for West Virginia, such as Devin Carter, Hudson Clement and Preston Fox have allowed the offense to be more two-dimensional.

The knights will be led into the matchup by quarterbacks Timmy McClain and John Rhys Plumlee. UCF has found a way to affectively run a two-quarterback system, with McClain having passed for 1,008 yards, and Plumlee for 834. Both quarterback’s favorite target has been Javon Baker. Baker has 551 receiving yards with an astounding average of 21.2 yards a reception. The ground game is led by RJ Harvey, the hometown 5’8” senior. Harvey has 612 rushing-yards this season on 112 attempts, averaging 5.5-yards a carry. The Knights offense is a very capable one; they can get it done on the ground or through the air.

With two efficient offenses and two struggling defenses facing off, there’s potential for sparks to fly on the scoreboard. Kickoff time is set for 12 p.m. noon. The broadcast will be available on Fox Sports 1, or through streaming services on FuboTV. If you’re unable to revive either, Tony Caridi will have the play-by-play call on your local Mountaineer Sports Network radio station.


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