Central Florida’s first season in the Big 12 has not gone as hoped as the Golden Knights are 0-2 in league play. They opened as 3-point underdogs for Saturday’s trip to Kansas but are now 1.5-point favorites because KU starting quarterback and preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Jalon Daniels will not start for a second game in a row, and it will be backup Jason Bean.
Daniels had his recurring back tightness flare up at the team hotel in Austin last Saturday ahead of the game against No. 3 Texas and Bean started in his place on less than an hour’s notice for #RockChalk. Daniels hasn’t been ruled out Saturday and is officially a game-time call, but Bean will make his third start under center this year. There were very mixed results in the first two.
In the season-opening blowout of Missouri State, Bean was 22-for-28 for 276 yards and two scores while rushing for 41 yards. If he puts up similar numbers on Saturday, Kansas probably wins. However, in the 40-14 loss against the Longhorns, Bean was a brutal 9-for-21 for 136 yards, although he did have a TD and rushed for 42 yards. That UT defense is one of the nation’s best and Bean was unaware he was even starting.
UCF’s defense isn’t at that Texas level but certainly well above Missouri State’s.
Central Florida does have the No. 1 offense in the Big 12, averaging 545.8 yards per game. It has topped 400 yards in each game this season, headlined by 723 yards in the season opener against Kent State. UCF also ranks third nationally in rushing offense at 255.2 rushing yards per game.
All that offensive success despite dual-threat QB John Rhys Plumlee missing the past three injured. Timmy McClain has stepped in to complete 50-of-82 for 872 yards and seven touchdowns. The Knights blew a 29-point home lead last weekend at home in a devastating loss to Baylor. Plumlee is not expected back this week but hasn’t been ruled out yet.
It’s the first-ever meeting between the schools.