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Cincinnati Opponent Preview: UCF

The Knights are on a roll

Temple v Central Florida Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

The 5-2 UCF Knights are a formidable opponent.

After crushing a rebuilding Georgia Tech club in their opener and taking ECU to the woodshed, they sputtered in games 3 and 4. While their vaunted offense continued to churn out piles of yardage in both the passing and running games, their defense was supremely porous against conference powers Tulsa and Memphis.

A 34-26 loss to Tulsa and 50-49 defeat at the hands of Memphis knocked this club down a peg. They seem to have regained their footing.

Not classically handsome head coach Josh Heupel has since righted UCF’s ship. The Knights club has now posted three consecutive convincing wins against Tulane, Houston, and Temple.

Back in the high life again, UCF will be a formidable test for our Bearcats.

They are led on offense by the lithe Dillon Gabriel, one of the AAC’s most precise passers. The true sophomore has posted Madden-like numbers thus far in 2020— 23 touchdowns versus 2 interceptions. A sturdy and veteran offensive line protects Gabriel, providing him with ample time to do damage to opposing defenses.

A pair of fundamentally badass wide receivers have benefitted from Gabriel’s munificence this season. Explosive senior wideout Marlon Williams (63 catches, 942 yards, 8 TDs) and Oklahoma transfer Jaylon Robinson (41 catches, 822 yards, 6 TDs) are both in the running for all-conference honors.

UCF can also run the football with aplomb. Their duo of senior running backs (Greg Mcrae and Otis Anderson) are piling up the yards for the Knights week-in and week-out.

When UCF runs into trouble, it’s on the defensive side of the ball.

They have their share of badasses—most notably tackling machine Richie Grant and ballhawk Eriq Gilyard. The ability of this unit to executive regularly though is a bit suspect.

Expect this to be a high-scoring contest in which the Bearcats will prevail.