College Football
Preview
Central Florida at Tulane
When: 3:30 PM ET, Saturday, November 12, 2022
Where: Yulman Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana

No. 17 Tulane will look to move a step closer to an American Athletic Conference title and a New Year's Day bowl game as the highest-ranked Group of 5 team when it hosts No. 22 UCF on Saturday in New Orleans.

The Green Wave (8-1, 5-0 AAC), who have won five straight games, are off to their best start since going 12-0 in 1998 and have won more than seven games for the first time since 2002. Tulane's No. 16 ranking is its highest since finishing No. 7 in 1998, which was the last season the Green Wave were ranked before they entered the poll last month.

"We want to be a nationally known program -- that's been our goal since we've been here," said Tulane coach Willie Fritz, who is in his seventh season at the school. "I think our program sells itself."

However, AAC-leading Tulane is going to have to defeat second-place UCF (7-2, 4-1) if it's to continue its storybook season. The Knights are also in the mix to earn the guaranteed New Year's Day bowl game as the highest-ranked Group of 5 team.

The Knights are coming off a 35-28 win at Memphis, their sixth victory in the past seven games. Quarterback Mikey Keene filled in for John Rhys Plumlee, who sustained a concussion a week earlier, and threw for 219 yards and three touchdowns.

RJ Harvey rushed for 151 yards and a score for UCF, and Kobe Hudson added six receptions for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

Plumlee was cleared to play against Memphis, but coach Gus Malzahn went with Keene because Plumlee hadn't practiced. Malzahn will wait closer to game time before naming a starter for Saturday.

"It was a close, hard-fought battle when we named John Rhys the (starting) quarterback," Malzahn said. "(Mikey) had been waiting his turn. He's been preparing like he's going to play every week.

"We've got two real guys, and that's a great luxury."

Plumlee has completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 1,883 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions, in addition to rushing for a team-high tying 532 yards and seven scores.

Harvey has rushed for 532 yards and four touchdowns, while Isaiah Bowser has 503 yards and 11 scores on 129 carries. Ryan O'Keefe has 49 receptions for 536 yards and four scores, while Javon Baker has 36 catches for 504 yards and three touchdowns.

Tulane is coming off a 27-13 win at Tulsa in which it outgained the Golden Hurricane 482-257 in total yards.

Tulane's Michael Pratt has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,843 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions, while Tyjae Spears powers the ground game with 745 yards and 10 touchdowns on 134 carries.

The Green Wave have seven players with between 17 and 23 receptions apiece. Shae Wyatt has a team-high 383 yards on 20 receptions with two touchdowns, while Dea Dea McDougle has a team-high 23 receptions for 236 yards. Duece Watts and Tyrick James each have a team-high five receiving touchdowns.

--Field Level Media

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Central Florida 7-2 W2 35.7 18.8 5-1 2-1 6-2 0-0 4-1
Tulane 8-1 W5 32.9 16.9 4-1 4-0 1-0 1-0 5-0
Last Meeting
Central Florida Tulane
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/6/21 TULN 10 UCF 14 279 50 229 279 132 147
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida M. Keene 76.0 229 2 0
Tulane M. Pratt 60.7 147 0 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida I. Bowser 14 54 3.9 0
Tulane T. Spears 15 77 5.1 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida R. O'Keefe 11 94 8.5 1
Tulane T. Spears 5 35 7.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida B. Johnson 1
Tulane T. Spears 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida J. Plumlee 64.4 1883 11 6
Tulane M. Pratt 66.7 1843 14 4
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida R. Harvey 72 532 7.4 4
Tulane T. Spears 134 742 5.5 10
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida R. O'Keefe 49 536 10.9 4
Tulane S. Wyatt 20 383 19.1 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida I. Bowser 11
Tulane T. Spears 11
Quickchart Matchup
Central Florida Central Florida Off vs  Tulane Tulane Def
Central Florida 500.4 yards
Tulane 307.3 yards
Central Florida 5.3 yards/rush
Tulane 3.5 yards/rush
Central Florida 8.5 yards/attempt
Tulane 6.4 yards/attempt
Tulane Tulane Off vs  Central Florida Central Florida Def
Tulane 418.7 yards
Central Florida 361.4 yards
Tulane 4.3 yards/rush
Central Florida 3.8 yards/rush
Tulane 8.5 yards/attempt
Central Florida 6.5 yards/attempt