After 24 hours of enjoying UCF's win over ECU, head coach George O'Leary had moved on. Quite frankly, he didn't have much of a choice, as Sunday he learned that UCF (9-3) would square off against NC State (7-5) in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 26 at 8 p.m.
"Yeah, I've moved on," O'Leary said. "Twenty-four hours, move on. Great game, great catch."
Awaiting the Knights is a team that has won three of its last four games, with the loss coming from ACC Conference runner-up Georgia Tech. NC State almost upset then-No. 1 Florida State in week five, after giving up an early 17-point lead.
The only common opponent between the Knights and the Wolfpack was the USF Bulls. UCF tallied a 16-0 shutout, and NC State won 49-17.
Led by linebacker Terrance Plummer and his team-high 92 tackles, the Knights are currently ranked ninth in points against, allowing only 17.9 points per game, and third in yards allowed, giving up only an average of 283 yards per game.
"I think it's a good matchup," O'Leary said. "We have some background with NC State in the past, so it will work out really well."
The Knights' victory over the Wolfpack in 2007 was the program's second victory over a BCS school. That year, UCF went on to win its first conference championship, but lost in its second-ever bowl game to Mississippi State 10-3.
O'Leary and the Knights will also be facing former UCF defensive coordinator David Huxtable, who is now the defensive coordinator at NC State.
"I don't like playing friends," O'Leary said. "There's no good result. There's no way you can't have hard feelings about it, but it's good to see him, and he's done well there."
UCF holds a 3-3 record in bowl games and looks to earn a positive record with a victory Dec. 26. The Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl will be the Knights' seventh bowl berth in the past 10 seasons, with all seven coming under Coach O'Leary.
"I think consistency and stability is what you want," O'Leary said. "We're viewed as a group that's going to give a good day's work out on the field, and, again, it's something that you form a culture with."
UCF head coach George O'Leary discusses "Hail Mary" finish to American Athletic Conference championship game/ Ryan Gillespie, Central Florida Future