UCF is Cheez-It National Team of the Week

UCF accumulated 592 yards, the third-most in a game this season and the most in a Big 12 conference game.
UCF accumulated 592 yards, the third-most in a game this season and the most in a Big 12 conference game.

DALLAS (FWAA) – The UCF Knights held the nation’s rushing leader to just 25 yards and deployed its own running back for a 206-yard day in a 45-3 home win over No. 15 Oklahoma State. For taking their first win over a top-15 team since 2017 the Knights (5-5) earned the Cheez-It National Team of the Week for games the weekend of Nov. 11, as selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America.

This is the third time for UCF to earn the national team of the week honor from the FWAA and the first time since Nov. 19, 2018, when an undefeated Knights team extended its win streak to 23 games and clinched a division title with a 38-13 win over then-No. 19 Cincinnati. The 42-point win over Oklahoma State marks the largest margin of victory over a ranked opponent in UCF history, topping the 25-point margin from that 2018 game.

Oklahoma State, ironically, was last week's Cheez-It National Team of the Week.

The game featured two of the nation’s top running backs with UCF’s RJ Harvey stealing the show from FBS rushing leader Ollie Gordon II of Oklahoma State. Harvey posted his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game and a career-high 206 rushing yards to become UCF’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Greg McCrae in 2018. Harvey, now with 1,082 yards, also ran for three touchdowns for a second consecutive week to match a career-high.  

Meanwhile, the Knights’ held Gordon to just 25 yards on 12 carries and OSU’s run game to just 52 yards, the Cowboys’ lowest run total since 2014.

“That was the No. 15 team in the country that came in here, probably the hottest team in all of the country and they had a huge win last week,” said head coach Gus Malzahn, who earned his 100th career win. “They had the leading rusher in the country and our defense played our best game. I think they had minus-6 yards at halftime. We held Gordon to 25 yards on 12 carries. That’s really probably the story of the game."

UCF accumulated 592 yards, the third-most in a game this season and the most in a Big 12 conference game. The Knights are now averaging 494.5 yards per game and have surpassed more than 400 yards in seven of 10 games this season.

With a career record of 100-52 all-time and 23-14 at UCF, Malzahn becomes the fourth active head coach in the Big 12 to reach the century mark. UCF’s last win over a top-15 team came in 2017 in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and its last home win over a top-15 team was in 2009 over No. 13 Houston.

UCF visits Texas Tech (5-5) in a Big 12 Conference matchup at 5 p.m. ET Saturday televised by FS2.

Since 2002, the FWAA has named a National Team of the Week. Coming into the 2023 season, 284 teams have been honored, including 101 different Division I programs. Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs.

The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend of Nov. 11 were:

  • Missouri (8-2): The Tigers rolled over No. 13 Tennessee, 36-7, behind Cody Schrader, who had the second-most yards from scrimmage in school history with 321 total yards – 205 rushing and 116 receiving, just 12 yards shy of the school record. Scrader is the first Mizzou player to have 90 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving, and he had passed that in the first half. Tennessee came into the game as the nation's third-best rushing team, averaging 227.8 yards per game but Missouri held it to just 83.
  • San Jose State (5-5): Kairee Robinson rushed for a career-high 200 yards and two touchdowns and Chevan Cordeiro threw for three touchdowns in a 42-18 home win over No. 25 Fresno State to take home the Valley Trophy. It is the first Spartan win over a ranked opponent since November 29, 2013 when they also defeated a ranked Fresno State team and gives SJSU its first four-game win streak since 2020. It was the Spartans’ largest margin of victory over Fresno State since 1990.

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Florida Citrus Sports is a not-for-profit event management organization dedicated to positively impacting the Orlando region while enhancing the quality of life in Central Florida through world-class events, including the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, the Pop-Tarts Bowl, the Florida Blue Florida Classic, the Camping World Kickoff and the FC Series. For more information, visit FloridaCitrusSports.com.

Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,100 men and women who cover college football. The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson at tiger@fwaa.com.

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2023 FWAA All-America Committee
Kirk Bohls, Austin American-Statesman (Chair)
Travis L. Brown, Bryan-College Station Eagle
Ken Capps, Freelance
Angelique Chengelis, Detroit News
Brett Ciancia, Pick Six Previews
Scott Dochterman, The Athletic
Scott Farrell, collegepressbox
Bryan Fischer, FOX Sports
John Hoover, All Sooners
Mike Huguenin, Freelance
Shehan Jeyarajah, CBS Sports
Nate Mink, Syracuse Post-Standard
Ben Portnoy, The State
Tony Siracusa, Last Word on College Football
Phil Steele, Phil Steele Publications
Dusty Thibodeaux, WarhawkReport.com
Ryan Thorburn, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune
John Wagner, County News Review (Minn.)
Jon Wilner, Bay Area News Group