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Tulsa at No. 11 UCF: Top storyline, key matchup, player to watch and who wins the game

Tulsa at No. 11 UCF: Top storyline, key matchup, player to watch and who wins the game


Tulsa at No. 11 UCF

6:30 p.m. Saturday, Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Florida


Radio: KXBL fm99.5

Need-to-know info

Records: Tulsa 0-1, UCF 2-0


Last meeting: On Nov. 8, 2019, TU beat UCF 34-31 in Tulsa

All-time series: TU leads the series 8-3

FOX23 James Aydelott’s forecast: Scattered showers/storm, kickoff temp: 67°


Top storyline

Back in action

After playing only one game through the first four weeks of the season, Tulsa has been preparing for UCF for the past week and a half. Game experience is invaluable, but so is practice time — something the Hurricane missed out on during a COVID-caused disruption to fall camp.

Key matchup

TU’s secondary vs. UCF’s passing game

Knights QB Dillon Gabriel has been impressive, throwing for at least 400 yards in each of the first two games and completing 18 consecutive passes last week. TU has a pair of potential NFL cornerbacks, Akayleb Evans and Allie Green IV, who will look to contain UCF’s air attack.

Player to watch

Zach Smith

In the opener, TU’s senior quarterback was not on his “A” game, having missed two weeks of practice while in quarantine. With enough time to get back in rhythm ahead of Saturday’s game, Smith has potential to ignite the weapon-loaded Hurricane offense.

Who wins and why?

From Guerin Emig: TU upset UCF last year with rousing efforts on both sides of the ball, particularly in the second half. It’s going to take a similarly balanced effort Saturday night. That puts pressure on Zach Smith and a TU offense that must be much better than it was in the season opener at Oklahoma State. Not sure if they’re up to that task in just their second game of the year.

UCF 31, TU 20

Kelly Hines


Twitter: @KellyHinesTW

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Sports Writer

I cover college football and college basketball for the Tulsa World since 2012. I spend her spare time as an animal rescue volunteer, focusing on spaying and neutering community cats in the Tulsa area. Phone: 918-581-8452

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