Saturday we face off against the  University of Central Florida’s Knights football team in an out-of-conference game and will be trying to get back above water in the win column.  Currently we are 2-2 and will be facing a very good team in their house.  The Knights are coached by new hire Josh Heupel (after going 13-0 under Scott Frost and being screwed out of the playoffs by the pollsters).

Even though they are in Football Bowl Subdivision’s American Athletic Conference (AAC) with what remains of the old Big East teams we Pitt people should never look down our noses at that – after all they have been regularly beating the teams we use to lose to.  The fact that they aren’t a Power Five team means nothing when it comes to the quality of football they play.

For instance this season the beat UCONN 56-7; last year they beat Maryland B10’s 38-10 then ended their season with wins over #22 USF (49-42) then #16 Memphis (62-55) and in the Peach Bowl handled the SEC’s #7 ranked Auburn 34-27.

They have had six 10 win seasons over the past 10 years and here is what UCF has done over their last five seasons:

UCF history.PNG

Everyone knows UCF can score tons of points – at present they are averaging 50.0 ppg in their three wins to open the season.   These are their offensive rankings:

ucf o2

Read that and weep thinking about how poor our defense has been against the big pass plays. Add to that these guys rush the ball as well as anyone in the country and there is nervous-making in abundance.  Offensively UCF is just about the best team in the country.

Their two major weapons are SR QB McKenzie Milton’s great grasp of the QB position in their hurry-up offense and his ability to accurately put the pass onto his receivers in every route pattern, including the deep ball.

Milton PassYou can see that his yards per attempt is a very good 8.7 but what jumps out is his yards per completion at 13.5 and his Passing efficiency of 160.1.  Remember how well Peterman played for us in 2016?  Well, his QB rating was 160 also.

The other weapon is RB Adrian Killins who is a workhorse at carrying the ball for them.  His numbers aren’t as gaudy as some others have but he plays on a team that is a pass-first offense. Last season he averaged 6.5 ypc on 122 attempts. Here is what he’s done so far:ADBut Killins isn’t the only running threat – QB Milton can motor also.  Take a look at what he’s done with his legs over the last two season (’17 and now ’18):Mk2He’s averaging 6.4 ypc and that isn’t just a scramble or two – he’s carried the ball 23 times in three games – they have the QB keeper in their offensive game plan just like we do.  Compare that to what our QB Kenny Pickett has done so far with his feet and you’ll see Milton is a real and dangerous threat. Here are Pickett’s rushing stats:

KP rushNow, where our kids may be able to take advantage in this matchup is twofold – UCF’s offense isn’t out on the field all that much where they are almost dead last in D1 with only 24:51 minutes time of possession.  Of course, that means they score so quickly they get it done and the “O” goes back and sits on the bench to flirt with their Dance team.  But… it also means that our defensive players will be fresher in the 2nd half of the game.  For what that is worth given our weird 2nd half play so far.


All that info is so impressive college football fans tend to overlook what they do on the other side of the ball – which isn’t so eye-opening.  Here’s what I mean.

Below are UCF’s defensive stats – notice something that I think it vitally important on a defense – the ability to make their opponents QBs passing game less efficient.  They basically lead the country in that also…along with not allowing opposing QBs many yards passing. We certainly should be able to run on that defense and if we can sustain long time-consuming drives we may have a chance at a win.

ucf d2

I think that’s our only real shot at winning this one. Here’s a look at the Knights’ head to head statistics with their three opponents so far.

UCF Team Stats

The fact that they are currently holding teams to 17.7 points scares me because our offense has truly sucked against D1 teams.  Even with the 33 points against an FCS team – with zero in the 2nd half we are scoring 24.5 ppg which puts us at 102nd (out of 129 teams) and is darn low.

But against other D1 teams we are scoring only 21.6 ppg  Here that is again:

Total Offense – 101st @ 61.0 ppg

Rushing Offense – 35th @ 212.3 ypg

Passing Offense – 117th @ 148.8 ypg

Scoring Offense – 102nd @ 24.5 ppg and against D1 teams 21.6 ppg

Rushing well will help us but 22 points is not going to win the game for us on Saturday.  Here are the odds as of today – we are getting 13.5 points and that sounds low to me.


We’ll run the Game Predictions thread on Friday but my gut take – especially after researching all of the above – is that we are going to have our asses handed to us on a silver platter.

94 thoughts on “Know the Enemy; UCF Knights 2018

  1. Reed, you’re amazing as to how you can crank out information so fast. Even after NC, I had thought that Pitt had a small but real chance in this game. Pitt is their only P5 game and I was hoping that Pitt could catch them by surprise. After looking over the stats, I really don’t see how Pitt wins this game.


  2. Funny what a good coaching staff can do…in 2015 UCF was 0-12. In 2017 they were 13 -0.
    Great stuff Reed, Thank you!


  3. Reed,

    The evidence you present is telling. We suck and they are really really good.

    We don’t have much of chance in this one but this is the type of game SOP rears its ugly head and pulls a miracle out of its butt. Then the following week we will get smoked.

    I don’t think that will happen this week though. Our defense is going to put just another game tape out there that we can’t stop anything. Narduzzi before you get fired can you please show us your defensive genious one time.

    One time in four years is that too much to ask?


    1. It already showed up in the PSU and GT games when the defense seduced the opponent receivers into so many drops.

      Unfortunately, there is now game tape of NC receivers not dropping the ball when poorly covered.


  4. Do I find it just a tiny bit funny how a PITT loss can re-energize so many? Yes, yes I absolutely find that funny.


  5. I really did want UCF to make the playoffs last year for two reasons. They did deserve it and they needed to get their rear-ends handed to them on a silver platter by a top P-5 team, which they most certainly would have. Unfortunately, PITT is not a top P-5 football team right now… so………


  6. It’s not looking good this week for the good guys, that’s for sure.

    UCF has speed at the skill positions, an up tempo offense coupled with Florida heat and an excellent QB. To add to that, Pitt’s scheme is built to stop Iowa’s offenses from 40 years ago…

    But, there’s hope. UCF’s competition thus far has been underwhelming. Pitt would beat the same three teams that UCF has played and beat. Maybe UCF hasn’t been tested? And, all winning streaks end. UCF owns the longest winning streak in college football… It’s just a matter of time before it ends.

    We will need to score some points, control the ball and clock on long drives, get better play from our punt team unit when needed, and play defensive like a pack of hungry, wild dogs jacked up on redbull. Bring on the Knights!


  7. Did advertise as of yet in the Pitt News for any walk on punter? There just might be a scholarship waiting to hand out for anyone that can provide Pitt with some spark in the punting game.


  8. I know it’s been said before and hell I’ve said it here as well… but it’s clear that Narduzzi can’t recruit well and we are not seeing him coach up what he has… or inspire the growth needed. At this point, well, what’s the point of him staying?

    It’s a vicious cycle. Pitt is losing recruits and one has to question if he still has his team motivated.

    What a mess. BTW, I was excited when he was hired and still had faith through last year, though I got concerned. This year obliterated all of my faith in him.


  9. A lot of talk about Pickett and just HOW GOOD of job he has been doing. Well here are some numbers to consider.

    Comparing Kenny Pickett to Ben DiNucci 2018…

                     QB Rating   Comp   Attempt   INT   Comp %   TD   Total YDs   YDs/Game

    DiNucci, Ben 163.36 55 73 1 75.34 6 553 138.25

    Kenny Pickett 120.75 60 96 3 62.5 4 580 145

    Now DiNucci and James Madison is 3-1 with the close loss to NC State. But let’s not hold that against him.


  10. I’m sure DiNucci would have sparked a Pitt win over PSU. And maybe we could have used him in our defensive secondary also.


  11. Wow, that link really shows deficiencies in our back seven defenders…especially the LBs. Wirginis makes a lot of mental errors that led to big plays. I did notice Brightwell got more PT last week than he did in the first three games.


  12. Sure? Yeah I’m certain UCF would have gotten beaten down in a NCAA playoff game in my own mind but I was wrong once before years and years ago.. 🙂


  13. Milton is an impressive QB. He throws an accurate deep ball, and they run a version of the wheel route to perfection. We can’t seem to defend the wheel route.

    They clobbered UCONN with many big chunk passing plays. UCONN turned the ball over three or four times in that game. Pitt would beat UCONN this year, though not by 46 points.


  14. Milton was a 3 star recruit out of Hawaii. He’s 5′ 11″ and weighs 185 and creates a ton of havoc. We have to tackle very well to have a chance against this team.


    1. We have to hit and tackle Milton every chance we get, and we have to minimize the YAC on receptions. It’s not impossible, but it is a tall order. I want to see our guys jacked up for this opportunity.


  15. Well, we’ll find out in two days.

    I’m actually looking forward to watching this game because as we know Pitt does pull upsets every once in awhile and although if we’re going to do that this year I would prefer to be against a ACC conference foe it would be a lot of fun to watch it happen Saturday too.

    Apparently the tight ends are going out on pass routes more often than I thought they’re just not getting thrown to at all.


  16. Milton may make what Oklahoma State did to Pitt look average I’m hoping for a win but I just do not see it happening.


  17. Hamlin = OVER-Rated… BIG TIME!

    The best thing that can be said about Hamlin is that he is OPPORTUNISTIC. He makes the plays when he has the ADVANTAGE against a Receiver, Runningback, or Quarterback.

    However, LOST those other times when he’s being CHALLENGED!!


  18. As strange as this might sound, I really believe the DEFENSE is the STRENGTH of this Team.

    However, chances of us seeing that come to fruition are limited unless Narduzzi ever finds the NERVE to show Hamlin the Bench.

    There are BETTER Players standing on the sidelines who need to get their chance.


  19. My wife and I will be at the game Saturday. I’m expecting a loss if not an outright blood bath. For reasons set forth ad nauseam on this website, the Duzz’s performance just ain’t cutting it and it ain’t going to get better, not this year, not next year, not the year after that. He needs to go. Pitt needs to move on.


  20. What a complete meathead.

    Brian Batko
    Pat Narduzzi on UCF (16 straight Ws) compared to UNC (4-11 in last 15): “Are they much better? I don’t know. I think North Carolina’s pretty good. It’s hard to say this offense is better than that offense.”


  21. Curious about the UCF offensive scheme. Maybe Pitt should consider the same style.

    Both Pitt and UCF likely have similar recruiting quality. Does anyone know where UCF ranks in recruiting relative to Pitt?

    Assuming similar talent and related success , or lack thereof, of the respective offenses, should we move from pro style to hurry up and more spread?

    Pitt certainly needs to change its defensive scheme we are going to get scorched on defense Saturday. right down the middle and over the top, and 50 – 50 balls.


  22. The Tarholes had lyke 4 yards passing at halftime. Everyone seems to be able to defend them but Nardo’s Defense.


  23. Narduzzi should be teaching phys. ed. at Southmoreland or Freeport… Maybe Laurel Highlands (eh, upitt?)

    “Hey. Yinz kids git dem balls and go ottside bifore I give yinz all detention, ‘n at.”


  24. Best for UNC to lose as we could tie them in ACC standings and they would get the better low level bowl. Of course they would get the better bowl anyway.


  25. frank md..

    You think Pitt’s going to be bowl eligible??

    Can I have your dealer’s number? I want what your smoking.


  26. Poll: Who will have more wins
    1) Pitt football overall
    2) Pitt basketball ACC wins

    Pretty much anything to distract me from thinking about Saturday. Although, again, this is just the type of game they win( or get crushed by 50, your pick)


    1. The thing is, we likely still will not know at half time whether PITT wins or not. (I am not referring to the mere logic that a result is not known until the end of the game). PITT can come out of the first half with a 28-21 lead. Due to this year’s second half woes and the opponent, PITT can still get blown out like against PSU…they can lose close like against UNC….but it is PITT and they may actually put together a second half and win a close game.

      But of course, if we are only up by a score and do not score first in the second half, the fans will be expecting a loss unfortunately


  27. “occasional drinks”? You’ve got to be pounding bottles of scotch to think Pitt will be bowl eligible.

    I’m a half-bottle deep into a fifth of J&B and I still know we won’t be bowl eligible.


    1. I have a case of 18 yr old J&B. Next time we golf I’ll give you a bottle. Used to be an exclusive J&B drinker til I discovered Johnny Black. You’ll need it all Saturday!


  28. Good news for you optimists..

    Despite a 16-game win streak (longest in FBS), UCF is just 1-5 in their last 6 games versus the ACC.

    We’ve got this in the bag! LOL


  29. Yes you have…had my blue and gold colored glasses on. Narduzzi May be the biggest fraud ever to coach at Pitt. And that includes a lot of company.


  30. The Hole Faithful are about fed up with Fedora and will be moreso after this season, Likewise with the Panther faithful. Maybe we can switch coaches, as both have obviously been tuned out by their respective teams 🙂


  31. Have your alcohol or illegal substances ready around 6:00 PM on Saturday to help relieve the pain. This is not going to be pretty.


  32. Speaking of telling you things early… It was pretty obvious early on Narduzzi wasn’t HC material mainly based on his recruiting.

    I was pretty shocked when Pitt fans started slobbering over his 2 and 3* recruits with poorer offers just because it was Narduzzi. Recruits that Pitt fans killed Chryst for recruiting are still making up a large amount of the starting 22.

    Actually, for the UCF game it is 50/50… 11 starters are PC’s kids including 6 on defense…all 3 LBs and 2 of 4 DBs…and the Pale Mountain Shane Roy.

    Honest to God, if after three full recruiting classes you can’t replace someone like Shane Roy you deserve to be looking at a different job at the end of the year.

    As far as rcruiting stars go they are one 4* (Bookser), seven 3*, two 2* kids and one walk-on. Now folks, if that isn’t an indictment of missing out on more 4* kids and settling for 3*s then that’s the results we will keep seeing.


  33. Reed – I think it was alot of optics with Chryst and Duzz recruiting based on personality. Chryst actually recruited better but I think because of his personality he wasn’t perceived as good of a recruiter.


    1. That is 100% correct. Pitt fans mistook PC’s lack of bravado and bluster for his not being intelligent. Nothing was further from the truth. I think he was a very good judge of talent and character…except for Chapman obviously.

      We forget what a hot mess the Pitt program was that he inherited…we could easily slipped down to 2 or 3 wins but he kept the program steady.

      In his first full recruiting class he grabbed:

      Dorian Johnson
      Tyler Boyd
      James Conner
      Scott Orndoff
      Jester Weah
      Matt Galambos
      Ryan Winslow, etc…

      In all his time he PN hasn’t personally recruited any player as talented as the above. He’s not recruited one star player to date and that is a oiler, especially at Pitt.


      1. This was during the pedo scandal though. He never would have gotten Johnson or who knows who else. Weah was his for sure as well as Conner. Not sure where Boyd would have gone…


  34. Miami 47 – UNC 10. Gee Pat, I guess UNC wasn’t able to steal any signals from Miami. I guess Pitt is the only team from which Carolina has been stealing signals because they can’t beat anybody else in conference. What kind of excuses will be made at 7pm Saturday evening? In the press conference yesterday, Narduzzi actually said, “coaches were more focused on coaching up the scout team.” Are you freaking kidding me with this guy? Have some accountability. He absolutely buried Conklin on the way out the door, yet Bates’ defense is trending to have worse numbers. Only one thing constant.


    1. He is an idiot. I have now said this many times. He does not have answers. He is not a head coach. There was a reason he went nearly 30 years before getting a head coach job.

      He needs to shut up and spend more time in the film room.


  35. You can not win consistently without enough elite linemen on both sides of the ball.

    It is all about recruiting and then coaching. It is just not getting done.


  36. The breaking point for me was after the 2016 season. While some were standing up and shouting how we beat PSU and Clemson, I shook my head and wondered how that team managed to lose 5 games.

      One other thing that ticks me off is some people’s revisionist history that we upset Clemson and PSU that year. We were favored over PSU. That just goes to show you how little is thought of our program, and what a superb job they do reinforcing the Myth of the Nitters. Naw, it’s time for the Duzz to go. He’s embarrassed the University on the recruiting trail, lost most fans, and convinced me he just doesn’t have it as a head coach. Problem is, no way they will eat another contract, so, get ready for the really, really, dark days of Pitt football coming up.


  37. Who are the most impactful players recruited by Narduzzi so far, including transfers.


    Extremely weak


  38. I can only stand so much Pitt depression and stress so I will re roof my barn Saturday afternoon and see how bad the score was after it’s over. As to recruits, the recruit ratings assigned to players by Phil Steele look just like Pitts. It’s what you do with what ya got and your scheme. It’s called coaching!


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