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#18 UCF vs. FAU: Preview and Prediction

Knights head south to silence Lane Kiffin and the Owls

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 FAU at UCF Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

UCF faces off against FAU for the second season in a row, this time in Boca Raton. The Knights, who dropped to #18 in the AP Poll despite their win last week, will be the second consecutive top-25 opponent for the Owls this season. UCF’s 25-game regular season winning streak will once again be put on the line against an in-state foe.


Kickoff: 7:00pm

Location: FAU Stadium - Boca Raton, Florida

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game

Series: UCF leads 2-0

Odds: UCF -10.5, O/U 67.5 (OddsShark)


FAU Coming In

The Owls are coming off of a 45-21 season-opening loss against the Ohio State Buckeyes. On paper this may seem like a blowout but FAU actually outscored the Buckeyes 21-17 after the 6:50 mark in the first quarter. From the second quarter on, redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Robison was 19-28 for 179 yards with a touchdown. Was this a result of Ohio State letting off the gas after jumping out to an early 28-0 lead or are the Owls for real?


When UCF Has the Ball

#UCFast

When you put up 62 points and 694 total yards in your season opener, you know your offense might be pretty good. Granted this was against an FCS opponent in Florida A&M, it was still a good tune up game for the Knights, especially for Brandon Wimbush who will be starting again this Saturday. It’s still too early to tell if Wimbush is truly the man for the job but he did have two touchdown passes and most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.

Josh Heupel confirmed we will see a similar share of the snaps between Wimbush and true freshman Dillon Gabriel like we saw in the season-opener. Wimbush missed some deep balls last week that would have been touchdowns but Justin Fields exposed FAU’s defense last week with his legs and I think that’s something Brandon should look to do as well. There were a few times that I felt like Wimbush wanted to run against Florida A&M but he stayed in the pocket. I’m not sure if Heupel is forcing him to become a passer first but I want to see the full effect of his running ability.

If the results are similar to what they were last week from each of the two quarterbacks, I can’t imagine Wimbush holding onto the job that much longer. He really needs to improve his accuracy or Gabriel is going to force Heupel’s hand. Nonetheless, all eyes will be on the UCF passing game once again.

Owl Defense

In reality, giving up 469 total yards to Ohio State really isn’t that bad of a performance. Things did get out of hand early and I’m not sure how that effected the play calling for the Buckeyes but FAU did show that they can defend against some of the best. A big reason for the success of this unit is the fact that they’re so experienced and after giving up 56 points and 545 yards to UCF last year, there’s no doubt they’ll be out for revenge.


When FAU Has the Ball

#UCFierce

The Knights defense is coming off of a performance where they only gave up 96 total yards, 4 of which were rushing. Yes, everyone knows Florida A&M isn’t the best test for this defense but they were a team that returned an experienced quarterback and all their leading receivers and rushers. For UCF to dominate them so badly was something that I don’t think anyone really expected.

The loss of Brandon Moore at corner is definitely going to hurt this unit but I think Tay Gowan and Zamari Maxwell are going to have success filling that role. I expect the Owls to put a lot more emphasis on the passing game in this matchup so the UCF secondary better be ready because Chris Robinson showed he can sling the rock.

Owl Offense

It was just a season ago that Devin Singletary ran for 131 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Knights in Orlando.

This year, Devin is on the Buffalo Bills while FAU totaled just 22 rushing yards against Ohio State last week. Lane Kiffin really utilized his tight ends against the Buckeyes including standout Harrison Bryant. Like I mentioned, I really do think the Owls are going to air it out more than we expect. Plus, I’m sure Kiffin will have a few wrinkles worked in that we haven’t seen yet.


Prediction

UCF 41, FAU 24


Fun Facts

  • FAU’s athletic director Brian White is the brother of UCF athletic director Danny White.
  • FAU quarterback Chris Robison transferred from Oklahoma.
  • FAU’s running backs coach is UCF Hall-of-Famer Kevin Smith.
  • Starting FAU defensive end Tim Bonner was featured in Netflix’s Last Chance U.