Schedule preview: Central Florida

Knights defense was stout in 2011, could pose some resistance

Updated: June 29, 2012, 8:43 AM ET
By Austin Ward | BuckeyeNation

Central Florida at Ohio State

Sept. 8, 2012, At Ohio Stadium (Noon, ESPN2)

About the Knights

2011 record: 5-7 (3-5 Conference USA)

Ohio State all-time against UCF: First meeting

Top returners: OL Jordan Rae, OL Theo Goins, RB Brynn Harvey, QB Blake Bortles, DB A.J. Bouye, DB Kemal Ishmael, DL Troy Davis

Key losses: QB Jeff Godfrey, WR A.J. Guyton, LB Josh Linam, DE Darius Nall, OT Nick Peischel, RB Ronnie Weaver, TE Adam Nissley, CB Josh Robinson

2011 statistical leaders (* denotes returners)

Rushing: Brynn Harvey* (574 yards, 3 touchdowns)

Brynn Harvey
Fernando Medina/US PresswireBrynn Harvey led UCF with 574 yards and three touchdowns rushing in 2011.
Passing: Jeff Godfrey (1,898 yards, 5 touchdowns, 5 interceptions)

Receiving: J.J. Worton* (531 yards, 4 touchdowns)

Tackles: Kemal Ishmael* (81)

Sacks: Troy Davis* (5)

Interceptions: Josh Linam, Josh Robinson, A.J. Bouye* (2)

What they're saying: "The season broke down to a matter of six games, and in most of them it just came down to that last possession of either putting the ball in the end zone or getting a stop. We just didn't get it done. It was six games decided by 31 points." -- Knights coach George O'Leary, to the school website

Three things to watch

1. Blake Show: The rotation under center a year ago ensured that Blake Bortles would get some experience behind Jeff Godfrey. Now that Central Florida's official starter has transferred, Bortles figures to be alone in the spotlight. The sophomore appeared capable of handling the load while appearing in parts of 10 games, throwing for 958 yards with six touchdowns -- but he'll be getting a big test from the Ohio State secondary.

2. Nothing easy:All the Knights really needed last season was a hand from their offense. Central Florida was effective defensively against both the run and the pass and finished No. 9 in the country in total defense -- not typically where teams with a losing record wind up in that category. Ohio State could get an early barometer for its offensive transition under Urban Meyer.

3. Pigskin protection: Central Florida was well balanced on offense and certainly capable of putting up points, posting 30 or more in four games last year, but it was undone by turnovers, losing 10 fumbles and throwing eight interceptions. That's also an issue for the defense, though, since the Knights came up three short of evening up the margin -- leaving it in the red and ranked No. 82 in the nation.

Austin Ward | email

Ohio State/Big Ten reporter