UCF looks to go 4-0 for first time in 29 years

When UCF gets off the plane and steps on the field for their game, they will attempt to do something that they didn’t even do in their magical season of 2013-2014 which ended in a BCS Fiesta Bowl win; they will attempt to go 4-0 for the first time since 1988 before they joined Division I football. Their task is to go into Nippert Stadium and get the win against a gritty Cincinnati Bearcats team.  Cincinnati will be looking for revenge as UCF clinched their bowl season last year against them in Orlando, 24-3.  UCF opened as 17-point favorites in the Las Vegas betting odds.

Keys to a Knights victory will include: continuing success running the ball.  Against Memphis, the concern was who was going fill the void left behind by Jawon Hamilton. The answer was the two-headed beast of Taj McGowan and Adrian Killins Jr.  McGowan ran 12 times for 63 yards and a touchdown and Killians ran for 119 yards on 12 carries.  McKenzie Milton also had some big-time runs that were crucial in keeping drives alive.

In addition to keeping the momentum going while on offense, the defense needs to continue their excellent play. In the game against Memphis — a team that was averaging 43 points per game and 480 yards per game offensively — the Tigers had only managed 7 points (even though they finished with 13, the last touchdown was scored in garbage time) and only 396 yards on offense with a lot of that coming after the game practically had been decided.

The Knights will need to be on-point with their running game as Cincinnati is ranked No. 1 in the conference in passing defense, allowing a measly 163.4 yards per game, while ranking NO. 10 in the conference in rushing defense allowing 1189 yards on the ground. Cincinnati is averaging 22.8 points on offense which is good enough for 11th in the conference with Temple being the only team lower.  On defense they are ranked 7th allowing 29.4 points per game. UCF is averaging 46.3 points per game on offense — 2nd in the conference behind SMU. Defensively they are allowing a paltry 13.3 points per game, good for the No. 1 overall ranked defense in the conference and 7th nationally among all Division I teams.

My prediction for this one: UCF – 42 and Cincinnati -14. UCF will run away with this one and will be ready for homecoming on 10/14 against ECU.

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