UCF's offensive line should be back at full strength when South Carolina makes their highly-anticipated visit to Bright House Networks Stadium on Sept. 28.
Starting left tackle Torrian Wilson, who went down a week earlier at FIU, didn't travel to Penn State after undergoing an arthroscopic knee procedure earlier in the week. Coach George O'Leary confirmed on Monday that Wilson would return to practice when the team reassembles on Thursday.
Wilson's presence will definitely be needed as South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is already the consensus choice to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
"He's back full speed," O'Leary said of Wilson. "I watched him running (Monday) and he's full stride. He had an injury, a scope of a medial cartilage tear. It's about a week injury. He's back at full strength and he'll be practicing on Thursday. The good thing is he's back, but we got another lineman in (at Penn State) who got a lot of experience in Tarik Cook. That only improves the depth in what took place Saturday night."
Despite Wilson's absence, UCF's offensive line didn't miss a beat. Senior tackle Chris Martin moved to Wilson's left side, while Justin McCray shifted to Martin's typical right tackle spot. Tarik Cook came off the bench to fill in at guard.
In one of the best offensive performances in program history, the Knights rolled up 507 yards of total offense including 219 yards on the ground.
"I thought (the offensive line) handled it extremely well," O'Leary said in his weekly television show. "When you lose your left tackle for the game, he's not even on the trip, I thought the players took the challenge and they really executed very well... I thought the offensive line had an outstanding game. Zero sacks. One quarterback hit which I thought should have been a late hit. We took some of the better players out of the game. I thought the offensive staff came in and had a great protection plan and executed it. We had the ability to make some big plays when we needed it."
South Carolina kickoff set for 12 noon
UCF's Sept. 28 clash with South Carolina will kick off at 12 noon, the school announced on Monday. Game time decisions belong to ESPN, who holds the rights to all American Athletic Conference home games. The Worldwide Leader plans to air the game on either ABC, ESPN or ESPNU. A final decision on network will come next Monday.
"I love playing in the afternoon," O'Leary said. "I love playing in the daylight. I know our team does too. I think it will be great for our fanbase. There will be a lot of excitement. South Carolina is a great football team. Obviously I'm just starting to watch tape now. They've got an awful lot of good athletes out there and they're obviously very well coached. It will be a very good matchup. We'll have to play extremely well."
As of Monday, less than 1,500 tickets were remaining for the contest.