ORLANDO, Fla. - Heading into the 2012 season, Central Florida coach George O'Leary knew his team would already be playing with a deficit before it even stepped on the field.
NCAA sanctions for recruiting violations within both the football and basketball programs led to the announcement of one-year postseason bans for both just days before the Knights began fall practice.
They won't find out the fate of an appeal of that ban until later this season. But bowl ban or not, O'Leary still sees an opportunity as the heavy underdog Knights prepare for Saturday's match-up at No. 14 Ohio State.
To be successful in Columbus, O' Leary says the Knights will have to improve their tackling over last weeks game at Akron.
"There were 90 yards of hidden yards after the first hit. You can't do that against teams like this. That just extends 1st downs," O'Leary said.
O'Leary says his team is excited about the opportunity to play a team with so much tradition and history. He knows it will take every player following the game plan to be successful.
"I don't worry as much about Ohio State doing the right things as much as we do the right things within our scheme of offense and defense," he said. "And again see where the game is in the 4th quarter. You respect everybody, you fear none. That's the motto I've always had with the team."
A win would give the Knights their first ever victory as a Football Bowl Subdivision member over a ranked, non-conference opponent.
Copyright 2012 by ClickOrlando.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.