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#12 UCF vs. SMU: Preview and Prediction

After losses to TCU and Michigan, SMU plays their toughest game yet

Acclaimed QB McKenzie Milton will lead UCF into what could be a shootout versus SMU. (Photo: Derek Warden)
Acclaimed QB McKenzie Milton will lead UCF into what could be a shootout versus SMU. (Photo: Derek Warden)

#12 UCF and SMU meet again in a series that dates back to when both programs were in Conference USA. The Knights are riding a 17-game win streak while SMU has won their last two after starting the season 0-3. This is UCF's only home game in October and a chance for the Knights to start 2-0 in conference play.


Kickoff

The 12th-ranked Knights and the Mustangs will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

TV

Series

UCF leads 7-1.

Last meeting: 2017. UCF blew out a lot of opponents in 2017; SMU was not one of those teams. SMU was the only opponent other than USF who kept the Knights within a touchdown in the regular season. UCF escaped Dallas with a 31-24 win behind Adrian Killins' 145 yard, 2 touchdown performance.

SMU Coming In

SMU has had a tough road coming into this game. They played North Texas, TCU and Michigan to start the season. After dropping all 3 of those games, the Mustangs upset Navy followed by demolishing FCS Houston Baptist. They are an experienced team on both sides of the ball and there's no doubt they will give UCF a challenge.

When UCF Has the Ball

UCF Offense: Points will be scored. It's really not a guessing game anymore when it comes to this UCF offense. They've scored 31 or more points in every game of their 17 game win streak. McKenzie Milton has had 12 touchdowns in the last two games while AK is coming off of a 180 total yard performance against Pitt. Ranking 7th in points per game (48.8), 3rd in total yards per game (583) and 5th in rushing yards per game (272.8), expect the Knights to find the endzone against SMU... a lot.

SMU Defense: Tested and failed. SMU is T-114th in points allowed per game (38), 91st in yards allowed per game (406) and 99th in opposing QB rating (144.4). Despite weakness in their secondary, they've shown success with their front, holding North Texas to just 4 rushing yards in the first game of the season. Despite the big name teams they've played, UCF's offense will be their toughest test of the season thus far.

When SMU Has the Ball

SMU Offense: Don't sleep on them. SMU definitely knows how to score and how to do it fast. They run a similar tempo to UCF which can really wear down a defense. They have a true freshman quarterback who took over the starting job and has played very well. He can hurt you through the air but he also has the ability to make plays with his feet. James Proche, the top receiver for the Mustangs, had a monster 173 yard game against UCF last season. With Courtland Sutton now in the NFL, Proche will be the main threat on the outside.

UCF Defense: Practice makes perfect. Randy Shannon's defense goes up against an uptempo team like SMU every day in practice so it's not a look they haven't seen before. The biggest point of concern is facing a mobile quarterback, an area where UCF has struggled this season. The defensive line is going to have to create pressure forcing this true freshman quarterback to make mistakes. If they give him time and space, it's going to be a high scoring affair.

Final Details

Line: UCF is a 24 point favorite

Pick: UCF 55, SMU 20