UCF vs North Carolina State Football PreviewFootball, Sports — By Allen Levin on September 10, 2010 at 4:58 pm Tweet
Last time UCF squared off with NC State, the Knights barely escaped with a 25-23 victory on the road. The Knights were led by an outstanding day from Kevin Smith, who ran over the Wolfpack defense for 217 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
This time, UCF will be without Smith and face arguably their toughest task of the season when NC State comes to Bright House Networks Stadium for a rematch of 2007’s matchup. The Wolfpack, who are part of the ACC, are the only major BCS team that the Knights will face this season besides the Kansas State Wildcats in Week 4.
The Knights are coming off a 38-7 rout of South Dakota, where junior Rob Calabrese had his finest outing as a Knight with 176 yards on 12-for-15 passing and a touchdown and got closer to cementing his role as the team’s starting quarterback.
North Carolina State looked impressive in their opener with a 48-7 victory over Western Carolina University. The Pack are led by quarterback Russell Wilson, who passed for 306 yards and four touchdowns last week.
The Knights are trying to start the season off 2-0 for the first time in the George O’Leary era and will need a strong defensive effort if they are going to pull of another upset against the Wolfpack.
Unfortunately, UCF will be without preseason All-Conference USA tailback Brynn Harvey, who is out for the first month of the season recovering from a knee injury. That means in addition to the defense stepping up, Calabrese and his offense will need to have a repeat performance of last week’s effort.
Sophomore Jonathan Davis started in place of Harvey and had a career night with 107 rushing yards and a touchdown. He will be relied on to get the ground attack going against a pretty solid NC State rush defense.
More importantly, the Knights defense will need to play a huge role Saturday as they face a very dangerous air attack. Although they only allowed one touchdown, the UCF defense appeared a little shaky, giving up 220 yards to a much weaker South Dakota team.
DE Bruce Miller, who is C-USA’s defensive player of the year, will need to step up after a rather quiet game last week. If Miller and the secondary can post strong performances, the Knights will be in good shape to start off the season 2-0.
Either way, tomorrow’s matchup against NC State will test the team’s depth and prove a lot about these 2010 UCF Knights and their quest to be conference champions. Kickoff is set for 7:30 tomorrow night.