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Grading the Defense: Week Six

Allowing 515 yards in only three quarters is not a good look.

Central Florida v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

What kind of defensive adjustments did the Cincinnati Bearcats have for the UCF Knights? Not many, it appeared. After being wrecked by Navy’s blistering run game and a capable Marshall attack the previous two weeks, the Bearcats did better against the run, but still let up a lot of yards and a lot of points. Mercifully, they only had to defend for three quarters. Let’s break it down a bit more.

Defensive Line:

The Good: Mark Wilson recorded his first sack of the season and fifth of his career. Kimoni Fitz had his third tackle for loss in the last two games. The line also played a clean game and was not called for a single penalty.

The Bad: UCF quarterback McKenzie victimized the Bearcats all night and a lot of that had to do with how much time he had in the pocket. The Bearcats had just the one sack and not a single quarterback hit beside that. In addition, most tackles were made beyond the line of scrimmage, even though the Knights did run the ball more times (21) than it passed (19). That rushing attack averaged 6.7 yards per carry.

Final Grade: D

Linebackers

The Good: Like the defensive line, the linebackers did a good job of avoiding needless mistakes and were only penalized once. Jaylyin Minor tied for the team-high with eight tackles.

The Bad: Minor was robbed of a chance to record double digit tackles for the fifth time this season, but its not as if he was dominating in the first three quarters anyway. The linebackers also failed to apply pressure both on the passing and rushing games. Perry Young had an unimpressive effort, with only four stops, and there were more than a few missed tackles.

Final Grade: D

Secondary

The Good: Safety Carter Jacobs tied with Minor for the team-high in tackles (eight) and Grant Coleman was third with five stops.

The Bad: Pretty much everything. With plenty of time to throw, Milton worked over the secondary constantly, with big pass play after big pass play. Tre’Quan Smith turned five receptions into 165 yards and three scores, with Milton completing a total of 16 passes on 19 throws for 374 yards and five scores. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first quarter was the only time Linden Stephens seemed present in the contest. Jacobs was also called for penalties twice, which just made things worse.

Final Grade: F

Overall

Here is how each of UCF’s drives finished: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, end of the game. From that we can clearly see that nothing UC did on defense worked. The Knights were never in much trouble, falling into third down only four times, while racking up 515 yards of total offense with 15:49 in time of possession. It was an efficient and brutal dismantlement of the UC defense, which failed at just about every turn.

Final Grade: F