“You turn this film on, they’ll wake you up in a hurry when you watch them,” said Malzahn, the first-year Knights coach who won a national championship at Auburn in 2013.
As a four-year starter, Ridder won’t see much he hasn’t seen before. He has 1,304 yards and 12 touchdowns with a 65.5% completion rate through five games this season. He’s piled up more then 8,200 passing yards with 69 TDs in his career. Part of his role as a leader, he said, involves trying to impress upon his teammates the magnitude of the opportunity.
“Just putting that mindset in everyone that this is a blessing that we get to do this — so why not do it as hard as we can?” Ridder said. “I think that’s one thing I try to push the team to go out every day and do.”
THE NEW KID
Freshman Mikey Keene has been running the Knights’ offense since Hawaii transfer Dillon Gabriel was lost for the season with a broken clavicle last month. Keene got his second start last week and threw for 194 yards in UCF’s 20-16 win over East Carolina.
“It was his second game, first home game, and for a young quarterback a lot of times there’s more pressure at home than there is on the road,” Malzahn said. “So I was really excited at how he handled himself. Overall, I think he had a good, solid performance.”
The Knights lost junior defensive tackle Kalia Davis to a season-ending knee injury last week that will require surgery. They’ve been hard hit by injuries this season, losing running backs R.J. Harvey and Isaiah Bowser, and receiver Jaylon Robinson, among others.
UCF at Cincinnati, Noon, ABC, 700