The UCF Golden Knights (1-0) host the Louisville Cardinals (0-1, 0-1 ACC) in a non-conference matchup between the ACC and the AAC. Louisville knocked off the Knights last season in Kentucky, 42-35, and own a 2-1 all-time record against UCF.
The two teams will tee it up at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday night inside the Bounce House in Orlando, Florida. UCF is a 6.5-point favorite, and the over-under total is 61.5 points.
What to Know – Louisville Cardinals
Louisville opened up the 2022 campaign last week in conference play with an underwhelming defeat on the road at the hands of the Syracuse Orange. The Cardinals scored in the first quarter but were unable to generate any more offense in a 31-7 defeat.
If the Cardinals want to improve this week, it’ll start at the quarterback position. Malik Cunningham returned as Louisville’s starter, but the senior turned the ball over twice in the opener. Cunningham finished the contest 16-for-22 for 152 yards and added 34 yards on the ground.
University of Tennessee transfer Tiyon Evans looked solid out of the backfield for the Cardinals. The junior running back carried the ball 13 times for 89 yards and a touchdown, averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
Wide receiver Tyler Hudson, another portal addition this offseason, led the receiving core with eight catches for 102 yards. Ahmari Huggins-Bruce added a pair of receptions for 57 yards.
While the Cardinals turned the ball over three times, their defense will also need to improve from Week 1 to Week 2. Louisville surrendered 449 yards of offense to the Orange, including 208 yards on the ground.
What to Know – UCF Golden Knights
The Golden Knights began the season with a 56-10 throttling of FCS opponent South Carolina State. Dating back to last season, UCF has won its last four contests in a row.
Ole Miss transfer John Rhys Plumlee stepped into the starting role for UCF and looked excellent in his debut. The quarterback threw for four touchdowns and added one on the ground, accounting for nearly 400 yards of total offense.
Isaiah Bowser, a former Northwestern Wildcat, carried the ball 23 times and rushed for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Bowser showcased his hands as well, catching three passes for 26 yards out of the backfield.
Another pair of transfers led the Knights in the passing game in wide receiver Javon Baker and tight end Kenmore Gamble. Baker, an Alabama transfer, caught five passes for 84 yards and a touchdown, while Gamble, formerly up the road at Florida, secured three receptions for 82 yards and a score.
UCF’s defense held the Bulldogs to 91 total yards of offense and just 2-of-16 on third down.
The Pick is In
It will be interesting to see how these teams take the next step from Week 1 to 2, but what is clear is UCF is taking full advantage of the transfer portal and has added talent and depth to its roster.
The Knights might be a dark horse team in 2022, and even though they played an inferior opponent last week, they looked really solid. UCF should have no problems scoring often on this Louisville defense.
The Pick: UCF Golden Knights -6.5