When Thursday rolls around, families across the nation will be sitting at dinner tables, carving into their turkey and dishing out their stuffing on a day of giving thanks. The UCF football team will be taking the field for the final time this season at 7:30 p.m. against I-4 rival USF.

In the Knights’ worst season in over a decade, they would be extremely thankful for a win.

“At the end of the night Thursday night, we’ll take a deep breath and hopefully we’ll have gotten that win that we all want so we can get something positive from this year,” interim head coach Danny Barrett said. “I think everybody involved with our athletic department is very thankful that we get a chance to do what we do, and we get a chance to do it in front of a national audience.”

Although USF (7-4, 5-2 American Athletic Conference) leads the all-time series 4-2, no player on UCF (0-11, 0-7 AAC) has been a part of a loss to the Bulls. To keep that trend going, the Knights will have to stop the Bulls’ rushing offense, which is No. 12 in the country with 240 yards per game.

“Of course they’re our rivals, but that hasn’t been as much of our focus. We’ve really been trying to focus on us,” redshirt senior H-back Cedric Thompson said.  “I’ve never really looked at a USF team and felt that they were bad.

“They’ve always been a competitive team, and they always play us hard.”

UCF’s senior class, which has the third-least seniors of the entire FBS, saw success from a Fiesta Bowl win and have accumulated numerous victories. And they want to go out on top with a win.

“I really challenged their teammates to make sure they go out on a positive note. Because you’re going to always remember your last game,” Barrett said. “You will always remember your last college game. No matter what – win, lose or draw – you’re going to remember that. So I want the rest of the team to help these guys enjoy one last victory because they deserve that.”


Jarrod Heil is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @JarrodHeil or email him at