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UCF proving they are worth the chase

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A year ago, UCF played a different kind of chase.

A year ago, they chased running backs and receivers across goal lines. A year ago, they chased a new coach and a new future.

This year, they are chasing the best bowl they can get.

The improvement of the UCF Knights has been one of the most impressive college stories of the season. A year ago, they were 0-12 and gave up more than 40 points in seven games, including the last five in a row. This year, the Knights are 6-4, and they’ve won three of their last four games.

That defense? This year, it’s improved all the way to 29th in the nation. It’s surrendered only nine points in its last two games.

Now, of course, comes the big challenges. This week, UCF plays against Tulane, which is eighth in the nation in offense. The following week, UCF plays USF, which is seventh.

“I feel like we came this far, we can’t let up,” senior cornerback D.J. Killings said. “With these two teams producing a lot and putting up a lot of points and get a lot of yards, I feel like this is the exclamation point on our season.”

UCF’s defenders will have to be ready. Tulsa’s Dane Evans is the 24th-ranked quarterback in the nation. USF’s Quinton Flowers is the 12th-ranked runner.

UCF, on the other hand, feels it’s getting better.

The next two weeks should prove it.


Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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