It's rare that a football team faces the same team twice in one season. Not only will the Knights do that this upcoming weekend in the Conference USA Championship game, but they will play the same team in the span of three weeks.
Two weeks ago, UCF fell to the Tulsa Golden Hurricane 23-21 in a battle for home field advantage in the C-USA Championship game. Now the Knights return to Tulsa, Oklahoma to try and win its third and final Conference USA Championship before moving to the Big East Conference next season.
"It is in the back of your mind. That's why we had to win that last game because we wanted to get back out there and have another shot at Tulsa," Senior captain and offensive lineman Jordan Rae said. "Our goal is still in front of us and that's to win the conference championship and that's what we're working for this week."
The squad is coming off a dominating 49-24 victory over division rival UAB. That was a game that clinched the fourth Conference USA East Division for the Knights. UCF is hoping to carry some of that offensive momentum into their final game in C-USA.
"Last time we played them they did play faster than us and harder than us," Rae said. "We're able to look at this film and find out where they attacked us and where our weakest points were."
"When it all comes down to it we have to block people and that's all that really matters," Rae continued
The defense made some key plays in the last contest against Tulsa, which included two blocked field goals and a 76-yard interception return by senior cornerback A.J. Bouye. Fellow senior captain Kemal Ishmael made a few key interceptions during the regular season and would like to make one in his final game against Tulsa. The Miami native says making plays will make the difference in this championship contest.
"It's just going out there and competing," Ishmael said. "Both teams know what to expect from each other and it's just going to be who is going to be more successful and more physical on the field."
"They know our personnel and we know their personnel," Ishmael continued. "We know what to expect from them and what they're trying to do. We just have to go out there and compete right now. It's all about who is going to be more successful on the field."