The Top 5 Reasons Why UCF Will Demolish UConn
The Knights are the most heavily-favored team on the slate
- UCF is coming off their first regular-season loss since 2016 and will have a chip on their shoulder.
- The Knights are dominant at home, where they’ve won 17 straight.
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- Freshman sensation Dillon Gabriel leads one of the top-scoring offenses in the nation at 47.3 points per game.
- UConn is a bottom-10 FBS team and the perfect opponent to start a new winning streak against.
5. It's Time to Start A New Winning Streak
Central Florida went into last week’s game at Pittsburgh riding a 25-game regular-season winning streak. The Knights found themselves trailing 21-0 in the second quarter before they snapped out of it and ran off 31-straight points to take a lead before Pitt came back for a 35-34 win. It was UCF’s first regular-season loss since 2016. They are one of four Group of Five teams to win at least 25-straight regular-season games. The loss dropped them to No. 22 in the AP Poll, down from No. 15 a week ago.
You can bet the Knights will look to bounce back this week, as they know another loss could sink their dreams of making it to a third-straight New Year’s Six game. As if that wasn’t motivation enough, many took joy in UCF’s loss, who were once the darlings of the college football world. If the chip on their shoulder was gone, it’s back now.
The past five times they didn’t cover the point spread, Central Florida responded with a cover in the following game.
4. UCF Is Dominant At Home
Coming home is just what the doctor ordered for the Knights. They have won their past 17 games in Spectrum Stadium, a streak they will keep going this week. Central Florida isn’t just great at home straight up, they also excel against the number. They are 8-2 against the spread in their past 10 homes game, including both home games this season.
3. Their Dynamic Offense Is As Diverse As It Is Explosive
Paving the way for blowout wins is an explosive offensive attack that’s ranked eighth in the nation in scoring (47.3 points per game), 16th in passing offense (325.8 passing yards per game), and 27th in rushing offense (233.3 yards per game). They’re dynamic and balanced. Oklahoma is the only other offense ranked in the top 30 in both passing and rushing.
With McKenzie Milton rehabbing his injured leg, the assumption was either Darriel Mack Jr. (started the final two games of last season) or Notre Dame grad transfer Brandon Wimbush would win the starting quarterback job. No one was expecting true freshman Dillon Gabriel to take over or to be the this good.
The southpaw is electric and throws one of the best deep balls you’ll see around college football. The Hawaiian native, who broke many of Tua Tagovailoa’s high school records, has thrown for 1,057 yards and 11 touchdowns to two interceptions while completing 60.6 percent of his passes. His average of 10.2 yards per pass is impressive, especially when considering Milton averaged 9.2 last season.
What UCF does well in recruiting is identifying fast players who maybe aren’t big enough to play in the SEC. With their speed, the Knights can run with anybody. All five of their players with over 100 receiving yards this season average over 15 yards per catch. Their leading receiver Gabriel Davis has 380 yards on 20 receptions, including five touchdowns while picking up 19.0 yards per reception, while Jacob Harris is averaging a whopping 31.4 yards per grab. He’s one of five Knights with a catch of at least 49 yards on the season.
If there’s a unit in the AAC that can rival the speed of UCF’s receivers it would their running backs, a group led by senior Adrian Killins Jr., one of the fastest players in all of college football. He’s averaging 6.0 yards per carry on his way to 233 yards, just behind Greg McCrae who has rushed for a team-high 298 yards (6.2 YPC). They are incredibly deep in the backfield with four players with at least 180 rushing yards to put them on pace to have four 500-yard runners on the season. Sophomore Bentavious Thompson is averaging an eye-popping 9.6 yards per tote.
Under Heupel, Central Florida runs a spread-iso offense, an offshoot of the veer and shoot offense run by Art Briles at Baylor. There’s a lot of RPO’s and deep passes that push the ball down the field, which allows them to get their athletes in space. By stretching the defense both horizontally and vertically, it creates a ton of running lanes.
2. The Perfect Opponent Is Teed Up
This week, the Knights open up AAC play with their easiest conference game of the season. The UConn Huskies went into 2019 expected to be the bottom of the barrel in the American and they’ve played down to expectations with a 1-2 start to the season, including a field-goal win over Wagner, an FCS program. Last week, the soon-to-be football independent was throttled 38-3 by Indiana.
After four weeks of the season, the Huskies are ranked among the bottom of most offensive categories and are universally recognized as one of the worst football programs in the entire country. It’s hard to imagine how they’re going to keep up with a Knights team that is 5-1 against the spread in their past six home games against teams with a losing record. UConn is 2-6 against the spread in their past eight conference games and 2-6-1 in their past nine against the spread when facing a team with a winning record, not to mention 3-8 against the spread in their past 11 on grass.
1. BetQL’s Model Says So
Consensus total: 64
BetQL Model: 70 (★★★★★)
With seemingly everything titling in Central Florida’s favor it should come as no surprise that BetQL’s model has the Knights blowing out the Huskies in a high-scoring affair. In fact, BetQL's Model lists the over 64 point total as a five-star bet, projecting 70 points to be scored in the matchup.
You better believe that UCF will be putting most of them up on the board.