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Opponent Preview: UCF

Cincinnati Readies for a Heavyweight Fight with Central Florida

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 28 UConn at UCF Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 3-1 Cincinnati Bearcats have a Friday night matchup with one of the heavyweights of the AAC.

UCF (4-1) has been the class of the conference for the past few seasons. Despite a gut-wrenching loss two weeks ago against Pitt, the Knights boast the most skilled roster in the AAC and still retain a 17-game conference winning streak.

True freshman Dillon Gabriel has emerged as the starter from a crowded quarterback room. The slick southpaw passer has put up some impressive performances, including his three-touchdown outing last week against Connecticut.

Gabriel has a host of weapons at his disposal on the UCF offense: pocket rocket tailback Greg McCrae (who gained nearly 1,200 rushing yards last season), Dave Meggettesque scatback Adrian Killins, long-and-lean Gabriel Davis (arguably the AAC’s most explose receiver), and reliable pass-catcher Marlon Williams.

Anywhere that Gabriel distributes the ball, he has a legitimate weapon.

The Knights’ offensive line is adept both at pass blocking and road grading.

UCF’s O-line has yet to lose a game in the trenches. Center Jordan Johnson is a potential All-American candidate.

Cincinnati’s best shot against UCF is exploiting its less-than-veteran defense, particularly UCF’s young defensive line. The Knights have some studs on the defensive side of the ball, including hard-hitting safety Richie Grant, who plays like a fourth linebacker.

Pitt, the only team to defeat UCF, was able to exploit UCF’s inexperienced defensive line with a multi-headed running attack and opportunistic play action passes. This would be an ideal strategy for Cincinnati on Friday night and would certainly play to the Bearcats’ strengths.