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#15 UCF vs. Pitt: Preview and Prediction

Can the Knights continue their dominance against the Panthers?

Pittsburgh at Central Florida Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

UCF hits the road to take on their second consecutive “power 5” team in the Pitt Panthers. The Knights’ 27 game regular season win streak gets put on the line once again in another game where UCF will look to make a statement. After a dominating win over Stanford, what will UCF do as an encore?


Kickoff: 3:30pm

Location: Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, PA

TV: ABC/ESPN2

Commentary: Jason Benetti, Rod Gilmore, Quint Kessenich

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game

Series: Tied 1-1

Odds: UCF -11, O/U 61 (OddsShark)


Pitt Coming In

The Panthers are coming off of a 17-10 loss against #13 Penn State. Defensively, it was a strong performance by the Panthers as they only gave up 17 points. Offensively, they were forced to rely solely on the passing game as they only could muster up 24 rushing yards on 25 carries. UCF will be the third team currently in the top 25 that Pitt will face this season.


#UCFierce vs. Pitt’s Offense

Offensively, Pitt brings a similar style of play as Stanford. They’re going to want to control the clock, establish the run, and catch the defense off guard with the play action pass. The issue for Pitt on offense is that their offensive line has severely underperformed. Pitt is 9th worst in the nation in tackles for a loss allowed, an area where the UCF defense is first in the nation. They’re also 117th in yards per cary (2.85) and 122nd in rushing yards per game (87.3).

UCF’s defense definitely has the advantage over the Pitt offense in this matchup. If the Knights can shut down the run game and force the Panthers to be one dimensional, I don’t envision a lot of points being scored. UCF’s secondary also has to be on alert as Pitt’s inability to establish the run against Penn State last week led to junior quarterback Kenny Pickett completing 35 passes for 372 yards.


#UCFast vs. Pitt’s Defense

The Pitt defensive front has done a good job all season getting to the quarterback as they have the fourth most sacks (12) in the nation. On the flip side, UCF is tied for second in the nation in sacks allowed (1). This will be the biggest test of the UCF offensive line so far this season.

Josh Heupel didn’t name an official starting quarterback once again but it’s safe to assume we’ll see Dillon Gabriel behind center. This will be the first real road test for the true freshman quarterback who has shined through the first three games. If things don’t go as planned, Brandon Wimbush and Darriel Mack Jr. will be ready to go at a moments notice.


Prediction

UCF 41, Pitt 17