Florida A&M (6-5 last season) at No. 17 UCF (12-1), Thursday at 7:30 p.m. EDT (CBS Sports Network).
Line: No Line.
Series record: Florida A&M leads 1-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
After going 25-1 over the past two seasons, UCF must prove it’s built for long-term success under coach Josh Heupel. Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush steps in at quarterback, where the Knights are without star McKenzie Milton — and his backup, Darriel Mack Jr. — due to injuries that might have dampened expectations for other teams. FAMU won the only other meeting between the schools, but that was way back in 1987, when the Rattlers were a thriving Division I-A program and UCF was competing on the Division II level.
UCF has had one of the nation’s most prolific offenses with McKenzie leading the way the last two seasons. The two-time defending American Athletic Conference champions have scored 30 or more points in a nation’s-best 26 consecutive games. FAMU, a FCS opponent that won’t do anything to stop critics of the strength of UCF’s schedule, will be hard-pressed to stop that trend.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Florida A&M: QB Ryan Stanley returns after throwing for 2,519 yards and 17 touchdowns last season. RBs Deshawn Smith and Bishop Bonnett are back, too, after rushing for 640 and 533 yards, respectively.
UCF: Wimbush was 13-2 over two seasons as a starter at Notre Dame, where he lost the No. 1 job despite leading the Fighting Irish to a 3-0 start last season. True freshman Dillon Gabriel is also expected to play in the first half of the opener after challenging Wimbush for the starting job this summer.
FACTS & FIGURES
Milton suffered a serious knee/leg injury in last year’s regular-season finale at South Florida. He’ll miss the entire 2019 season but remains hopeful of playing in 2020. Mack, who started the AAC championship game and Fiesta Bowl, is recovering from a broken ankle. … UCF’s loss to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl stopped the Knights’ school- and AAC-record 25-game winning streak. … FAMU is beginning its second season under coach Willie Simmons. The Rattlers were 6-5 a year ago, finishing on a three-game losing streak.
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