Advertisement

UCF will be missing QB John Rhys Plumlee against Villanova before starting Big 12 season

Villanova (2-0) at UCF (2-0), Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Line: No line.

Series Record: UCF leads 1-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

UCF is playing its final non-conference game before its debut in the Big 12 Conference on the road against Kansas State. The Knights' come-from-behind victory at Boise State left quarterback John Rhys Plumlee with a leg injury that will keep him out for a few weeks. Timmy McClain is expected to get the start against Villanova, which is getting votes in the FCS rankings after comfortable wins over Lehigh and Colgate. McClain started nine games in 2021 for USF, including nearly defeating UCF in the season finale.

KEY MATCHUP

UCF rushing attack vs. Villanova front seven. All the attention will be on McClain but the game will likely come down to who wins the line of scrimmage.

The big-play Knights lead the nation with 323.5 rushing yards per game and are second with 7.44 yards per rush. Johnny Richardson leads the running backs with 162 rush yards and R.J. Harvey has 154. Villanova has been solid against the run, allowing just 55.5 yards per game, but the Knights will be a step up in talent.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Villanova: RB Jalen Jackson has helped anchor a Villanova offense that is averaging 40.0 points per game and has a good balance between the run and the pass. Jackson has 201 rush yards, 10.1 yards per carry and four touchdowns already this season.

UCF: WR Kobe Hudson leads the Knights with nine receptions for 178 yards. A fourth-quarter drop led directly to an interception in the end zone during the win over Boise State. The Knights have plenty to clean up with a new quarterback in the mix this weekend.

FACTS AND FIGURES

UCF kicker Colton Boomer was named the Big 12 special teams player of the week after hitting three field goals in the 18-16 win over Boise State (55-, 50- and the 40-yard game-winner as time expired). Boomer is 18 for 19 in his career on field goals. ... Villanova QB Connor Watkins threw for 310 yards on just eight completions in Villanova's 42-19 win over Colgate last week. ... The Knights have given up just 22 points, the fewest in a two-game span since giving up 17 in two games in 2021. .... The Knights are 17th in FBS allowing 11.0 points per game and are 47th in FBS giving up 311.5 yards per game.

___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll