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#12 UCF vs. Navy: Preview and Prediction

Can the Knights make it past the Midshipmen for their 22nd win in a row?

NCAA Football: Central Florida at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

For Josh Heupel and his players, this is just another opportunity for the team to go 1-0. For UCF Knights fans and supporters around the country, this is another chance to show the playoff committee that UCF means business. The Knights will look to extend their win streak to 22 games in their 3rd-to-last game of the regular season.


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



UCF leads 1-0.

Last meeting: 2017. The only meeting between these two teams came last season when the Knights ended the Midshipmen’s 17 game home winning streak which was best in the nation at the time. It was no easy feat as Navy came within 3 points in the 4th quarter. A big turnover forced by Brandon Moore helped seal the deal for UCF as they went on to score on the following drive. The 31 points scored by the Knights are tied for their lowest during the current win streak.

Navy Coming In

It’s been a rough season for Navy so far as they come into this matchup 2-7 (1-4). Their last game was a 42-0 loss to Cincinnati who UCF plays next week. Navy recently matched up with #3 Notre Dame, giving UCF another common opponent with the Fighting Irish. The Midshipmen scored the 3rd most points against the Irish out of their 9 opponents so far this season.

When UCF Has the Ball

UCF Offense: Too Fast. It took UCF just under 22 minutes to score 52 points off of 630 yards last week against Temple. Out of UCF’s 7 touchdown scoring drives, 2 were under a minute, 4 were under 2 minutes, and the longest took just 2:30. Navy’s going to control the game clock so the Knights are going to have to continue scoring fast and scoring often.

Navy Defense: The Struggle is Real. Navy is 114th in the country in points allowed per game (36.2) and 102nd in yards allowed per game (441). They’ve had almost no success stopping the run or the passing game which poses a huge mismatch with UCF’s explosive offense. Honestly, Navy’s best defense is their offense chewing up clock to keep the Knights offense off the field.

When Navy Has the Ball

Navy Offense: Option Football. Like most of the service academies, Navy runs the triple-option offense which is rare in modern football. This offense will primarily rely on the run game mixed in with a few passes here and there. Navy is 3rd in rushing yards mainly because they’ve ran the ball 85% of the time. There’s no doubt this offense can score a lot of points if the defense isn’t prepared.

UCF Defense: All Eyes Up Front. It’s no secret that UCF has struggled to stop the run this season. Granted, they have faced some of the best backs the country has to offer. With the triple-option, the Knights will almost exclusively have to stop the run. After being dismantled by Temple’s offense last week, I’m curious to see how Randy Shannon and his squad will bounce back.

Final Details


Line: UCF is a -24½ point favorite

Pick: UCF 58, Navy 17


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