The Fiesta Bowl
The Univerisity of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida has not lost a game since the 2016 season. They play in the American Athletic Conference (AAC). Two campaigns ago, UCF had a losing season. They have not been welcomed warmly by the upper crust of college football, mainly because of their conference. Last season they beat SEC member Auburn in the Chick-fi-A Peach bowl game.
On offense, the Knights lost their starting quarterback McKenzie Milton to a leg injury in the eleventh game of the season. Mack was averaging 266 passing yards per game. Freshman Daniel Mack, Jr. stepped in and has helped guide UCF to its second straight undefeated season. In the AAC championship game against Memphis, Mack passed for 348 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 59 yards and four touchdowns in his team’s 55-41 victory. Sophomore running back Greg McCrae ran for 206 yards and one score in the game. During the season McRae rushed for 1101 yards. He averaged 8.95 yards per run, second in the country. The Knights were fifth in the country in rushing offense, averaging 276.5 per contest. They averaged 268.9 yards per game through the air. UCF was sixth in the land in scoring offense, averaging 44.2 points per game. The Knights were third in the country in total offense, averaging 7.34 yards per play, and 545.4 yards per game. They will see if they can keep up that pace with Mack at quarterback.
Sophomore Gabriel Davis averages 63 yards in receptions per game. UCF does not pass much, but when they do, eight players average over 10 yards per reception.
On the offensive line, senior tackle Wyatt Miller and junior center Jordan Johnson, have been starters since their freshman seasons.
The Knights are not a very good defensive team. One thing they do well on defense, however, is tackle the opponent for losses. They are fifth in the nation in tackles for losses (tfls), averaging 8.8 per game. Senior defensive lineman Titus Davis has 16 tfls for the season. Junior defensive lineman Trysten Hill has 10 tfls for the year. Sophomore defensive back Richie Grant is the leading tackler for the Knights with 102 total, and 64 solos. Grant is tied for third in the nation in interceptions with six.
The Knights would like nothing better than beating a team from a power conference in a bowl game. It would be the second straight year they could accomplish it if they beat the Purple and Gold. It would also be the second straight year they would beat an SEC team in a bowl contest. They are beatable, but they are also a worthy opponent.