A leg injury will force UCF starting quarterback John Rhys Plumlee to miss multiple weeks, coach Gus Malzahn said Monday. With Plumlee sidelined, South Florida transfer Timmy McClain will start against Villanova in Week 3.
Plumlee suffered the injury in the waning minutes of UCF's 18-16 win over Boise State. The senior's right knee bent awkwardly as he was hit while trying to slide on a zone-read keeper on first down. Plumlee stayed in the game, but was visibly unable to put weight on his right leg. The effort was enough to set up a game-winning 40-yard field goal from kicker Colton Boomer.
The injury will not require surgery, but it is expected to keep Plumlee out as UCF prepares for a historic stretch to open its tenure as a Big 12 program. The Knights play their first conference game on the road against No. 15 Kansas State on Sept. 23. UCF returns to the Bounce House on Sept. 30 for the Big 12 home opener against Baylor.
Plumlee has emerged as a star player in Malzahn's offense. In two seasons with the Knights, Plumlee has accumulated more than 4,000 yards from scrimmage and 29 touchdowns in just 15 games as a true dual-threat signal-caller. Against Boise State, Plumlee posted 272 yards passing and 73 yards rushing, but threw two interceptions.
McClain started nine games at rival South Florida as a true freshman. He completed 55% of passes for 1,888 yards and added 238 yards rushing. McClain transferred after the Bulls added Baylor transfer Gerry Bohanon and redshirted the 2022 season to retain a season of eligibility. The Sanford, Florida, native threw five passes for 53 yards in a season-opening 56-6 win over Kent State.
"Timmy's a guy that we think very highly of," Malzahn said. "He's had a really good fall camp and practice. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he's gotten almost equal reps almost to John Rhys. He's ready to go, we've got a lot of confidence in him, a guy who's played and started football games as a true freshman."
UCF kicks off against Villanova at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.