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#18 UCF vs. Cincinnati: Preview and Prediction

How will UCF bounce back in their first road game since their loss to Pitt?

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

UCF will hit the road for the first time since their loss to Pitt in what should be a very hostile environment at Nippert Stadium. The last time the Knights traveled to Cincinnati, they scored on every offensive drive before the game was called early due to weather. How will the Knights fare this time around?


Kickoff: 8:00 pm

Location: Nippert Stadium - Cincinnati, Ohio

TV: ESPN

Commentary: Chris Cotter, Jim Mora/Mark Herzlich, Paul Carcaterra

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game

Series: UCF leads 3-1

Odds: UCF -3.5, O/U 60.5 (OddsShark)


Cincinnati Coming In

All things considering, Cincinnati is probably exactly where they thought they’d be after their first four games. Sitting at 3-1, the Bearcats’ only loss came at the hands of Ohio State. I’m sure they didn’t expect to be blown out 42-0 but the Buckeyes have shown they might be the best in the country. After a dominating 52-14 win over Marshall last week, Cincinnati has shown what they’re capable of.


Keys to Victory

Contain the Quarterback

Cincinnati’s sophomore quarterback Desmond Ridder has the capability to hurt you through the air and on the ground. As we saw against Pitt, the quarterback rush has been a real issue for this defense. Last year, Ridder had 20 rushes for 70 yards against the Knights and I’m sure Luke Fickell is going to work that into his gameplan for this matchup.

Bring the Heat

The Bearcats are tied for 92nd in the nation in sacks allowed (12) while UCF has lived in the backfield for most of the season with the second most tackles for a loss in the nation. I’d like to see Randy Shannon apply the kind of pressure that Pitt applied against UCF. That will go along with containing Desmond Ridder as well.

Get Creative

If Josh Heupel thinks he’s going to be able to lineup and run the ball up the gut successfully against this Cincinnati defense, he’s wrong. I’d like to see the play calling in the run game get a little more creative and find a way to get our speedy backs to the outside. I also want to see our backs get more involved in the pass game whether that means lining them up in the slot or getting them the ball in the flats.


Prediction

UCF 34, Cincinnati 20