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Summer Schedule Preview: Oklahoma State Heads to UCF in Schools’ First-Ever Meeting

The Cowboys are going to Disney World.



[Big 12]

A week after putting a cap on a conference series that has been played annually for over a century, Oklahoma State will start a new one against a foe it’s never faced. The Cowboys are going to Disney World.

Week 11: UCF

OSU will play its fourth away game of the season when the Pokes travel to central Florida for their first-ever meeting with the Knights. Let’s take a look at the matchup.

When: Nov. 11
Where: Orlando, Florida

The Cowboys will get introduced to the Bounce House, the moniker for FBC Morgage Stadium which the Knights have called home since 2007.

Last meeting: N/A

This will be the first meeting between Pistol Pete and Knightro.

UCF in 2022: The Knights went 9-5 last season under Gus Mahlzan, following up a 9-4 finish in his first season at the helm. UCF finished second in the American last season, topping fellow Big 12 newcomer Cincinnati by a tie-breaker.

UCF in 2023: Malzahn has handed the reins of the offense to no co-offensive coordinator Darin Hinshaw. And the Knights retooled this offseason around returning QB John Rys Plumlee, a dual-threat passer who threw for 2,586 yards and 14 TDs and rushed for 862 yards and 11 scores, both team-highs. He did throw eight interceptions. The Knights also return a good portion of their touches at running back from last year.

UCF has a new defensive coordinator after secondary coach Addison Williams was promoted this offseason. He takes over a unit that ranked third in the American last year in scoring defense, but he has some holes to plug in the back end. Up front, UCF returns the majority of their starters including First-Team All-AAC defensive tackle Ricky Barber and defense ends Tre’Mon Morris-Brash (a First-Teamer) and Josh Celiscar (an Honorable Mention).

Key matchup: The Battle for the Grass inside the Bounce House.

While they’ve had some turnover up front, the Knights should be tough to stop on the ground. They return most of the ball carriers that helped them finish second in their previous conference averaging 228 rushing yards per game on 5.2 yards per attempt. The Cowboys ranked eighth in the Big 12 last year allowing 178 at nearly 4.7 per pop.

UCF ranked fifth nationally in total rush yards at 3,197 and was Top 20 in yards per carry. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be in Year 1 of Bryan Nardo’s new 3-3-5 defense, and dealt with their fair share of turnover up front. We’ll see how far the defense has come by Week 11, but through July binoculars, this looks like a test for the Pokes’ rush defense.

Be sure to check out our previous schedule previews: NonCon | Iowa State | Kansas State | Kansas | West Virginia | Cincinnati | Oklahoma

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