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UCF looks for yet another Gasparilla Bowl win vs. Ga. Tech


Quarterback John Rhys Plumlee looks to propel UCF to its third Gasparilla Bowl win in five seasons when the Knights face Georgia Tech on Friday in Tampa, Fla.

Plumlee returned in early October from a three-game absence due to a right knee injury in guiding the Knights (6-6) to a bowl game for a program-record eighth straight season.

“I’m not 100 percent yet but continually improving,” Plumlee said, per the Orlando Sentinel. “I had a checkup the other day and used to have to wear the brace 24/7 unless I was taking a shower. I had to wear it while I was sleeping. Then I graduated from not having to wear it when I’m sleeping, which was huge, but wearing it at all other times. Now I just have to wear it for football-related activities.

“Hopefully, sooner than later, I’ll be able to graduate and not have to wear the brace at all.”

Plumlee hasn’t looked the worse for wear in the interim. He has thrown for 10 touchdowns and rushed for 310 yards and four scores during his last six starts.

The fifth-year senior admitted to being excited about the chance to lead the Knights to glory once again in the Gasparilla Bowl. That said, he is savoring the lead-up to the game, as well.

“I’m one of those guys that kind of takes it one day at a time,” Plumlee said. “Sometimes that puts me tardy on some things, but I think the best way to do things is to live in the moment.”

Plumlee rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown in UCF’s 27-10 win over Georgia Tech last year. RJ Harvey, who had 73 yards on the ground in that game, has rushed for 1,296 yards and 16 touchdowns this season — with 10 scores coming in the last four games.

The Yellow Jackets (6-6) will be tasked with keeping Plumlee and Harvey in check while playing in their first postseason game since 2018. They dropped a 34-10 decision to Minnesota in the Quick Lane Bowl that year.

Georgia Tech enjoyed a strong season under head coach Brent Key, who spent 2005-15 in various roles with UCF.

Haynes King has thrown for 2,755 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 648 yards and nine scores. Jamal Haynes has added 931 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground for the Yellow Jackets, who tied North Carolina this season with an Atlantic Coast Conference-best 197.1 rushing yards per game.

Key, however, is interested in getting his team back on the same page after a lengthy layoff. The Yellow Jackets last played on Nov. 25, a 31-23 loss to then-No. 1 Georgia.

“What I want to do is to be able to get as many opportunities as we can early on to keep our guys in shape to hone their skills so we haven’t lost what we’ve been able to build through the season,” Key said. “Get guys a lot of situational football, a lot of third downs, red area, two-minute, four-minute-type situations. The first week of it will be good-on-good and then a lot of time for developmental guys to get practice reps.”

–Field Level Media

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