Inside the underrated UCF-USF rivalry

It will be the ninth meeting of the two rivals, but never has there as much as stake as this one. This year's contest however, hardly features the usual suspects.

Bet on South Florida vs. Scott Frost's Knights have won every game but one by double digits, but this is going to be their toughest test of the year, with the victor claiming the AAC East and heading to the conference title game next week to take on Memphis with the Group of Five's New Year's Six bid hanging in the balance. It seems as if UCF is hitting its stride, but with its 10 game in a row and a short week to prepare for USF a different task is in front of them. Under the guidance of head coach Charlie Strong and new defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary, the USF defense is playing fantastic ball. USF resisted even agreeing to the series that would have matched up the two young programs in the 1990s. Flowers is completing less than 54 percent of his attempts this season, but has still accounted for 26 total touchdowns and has rushed for at least 100 yards four times.

"When the new (coaching staff) came in, we all spoke about what happened a year ago", said senior safety Devin Abraham to USF Athletics. UCF has one of the top offenses in the nation, averaging 48.2 points and 522.6 yards per game. The public is now putting 57 percent of the wagers for this game on South Florida on the road.

When it comes to taking the football away, few teams do it better than UCF and South Florida.

In that first season in the American, UCF won the conference and the Fiesta Bowl in what stands as the best season either school has put together. When it comes to turnover margin, UCF is tied for the FBS lead with Miami at plus-16. He has 55 tackles with 7.5 for losses (3.0 sacks).

Hong Kong Open: Sindhu enters quarter-final
In men's singles rankings, Srikanth remains India's top shuttler at No.3, even though he dropped a spot. Meanwhile, it was also the end of road for Indian men's doubles pair of Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy.

The Bulls rank fifth nationally in average turnover margin and are plus-11 for the year. The Bulls are second in the nation with 17 interceptions, including four by S Devin Abraham. Linebacker Auggie Sanchez has returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns. Both teams have already clinched berths in next Saturday's conference championship game, meaning this weekend's matchup will be the first in a rare back-to-back series. When the season began, USF had much better odds to get to this point undefeated than UCF.

The quarterbacks for Saturday's contest are getting the most headlines, but there is no shortage of skilled offensive players around them. Darius Tice is adding 860 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns while D'Ernest Johnson is putting up 715 rushing yards and seven scores.

UCF's McKenzie Milton is the AAC's total offense leader, running and passing for 330.1 yards a game, 292.8 through the air. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the leading receiver with 48 receptions and 737 yards and five touchdowns.

For UCF, the guy to watch is junior receiver Tre'Quan Smith. In the backfield, Adrian Killins a home-run threat. As good as both defenses have been this season, expect no shortage of points on Friday.

A big key in this matchup will be the defense. Since falling at home to Houston, South Florida has seemed to go through the motions in recent victories over CT and Tulane, but this may also be the biggest game in program history as a division title is on the line.


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