No. 16 UCF puts 15-game winning streak on line against FAU
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Florida Atlantic entered the season with aspirations of playing its way into the debate about who is worthy of berths in the College Football Playoff.
While that is unlikely - the Owls have already suffered one set back, they still have plenty of motivation heading into a Friday night's nationally televised visit to No. 16 UCF.
FAU has a shot at redemption after a 63-14 drubbing at Oklahoma in its season opener. With a win the Owls would knock off a ranked team for the first time and end UCF's 15-game winning streak, the longest in the nation. They also could derail the Knights, who are trying to remain on course to once again be part of the CFP conversation in December.
UCF, coming off an unexpected bye week after last Saturday's scheduled game at North Carolina was canceled due to Hurricane Florence, hopes to extend FAU's woes against Top 25 teams.
"Any time you get to play on national television it's big. But I don't think we look at it any different from any other game," Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton said. "We're going to get FAU's best shot, but they'll get ours as well."
FAU (2-1), which has beaten Air Force and Bethune-Cookman the past two weeks, welcomes the challenge.
"It would be tough to beat these guys anywhere, especially there, a very loud environment," Owls coach Lane Kiffin said.
"They are playing as well as anyone in the country, and they are rested up, and the fans are excited because it is an ESPN game on Friday night," Kiffin added. "It is all lined up. ... We are going to have to have a great week of practice."
Some other things to know about FAU and UCF, which finished unbeaten last season and declared themselves national champions after not being invited to participate in the CFP:
UCF ranks among the national leaders in total offense, averaging 602 yards en route to victories over Connecticut and South Carolina State. Milton, eighth in Heisman Trophy voting a year ago, has thrown for 6,609 yards, 53 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in his career. He's also rushed for more than 800 yards and 11 TDs.
"This obviously is a tough guy to contain and a tough offense," Kiffin said. "They are second in the country in offense. ... They go up extremely fast, and he is a really special player, and they are really good all around him. I told the staff, after watching these guys, both sides, I feel like we are playing a SEC team."
Kiffin, the former USC and Tennessee coach, is in his second season at FAU. He inherited a team that was 3-9 in 2016 and transformed the Owls into Sun Belt Conference champions with an 11-3 record.
UCF coach Josh Heupel is impressed with what he's seen on film, offensively and defensively.
Red-shirt freshman quarterback Chris Robison has thrown for 799 yards and four TDs, and running back Devin Singletary has scored seven TD's and is closing in on replacing Alfred Morris as the Owls' career rushing leader.
"Good skill guys that have great speed," Heupel said. "A quarterback that's played extremely well. ... And then special teams wise ... a third of the game that is critical to us, they cause some problems there as well."
FAU turns it attention to defending its Sun Belt title after Friday night, closing the season with eight straight conference games.
UCF, the defending American Athletic Conference champion, hosts Pittsburgh next week in the Knights' final nonconference game.
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Updated September 20, 2018