2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The UCF Offense
The completion percentage needs to be higher. McKenzie Milton wasn’t the most accurate passer last season, but he hit 67% of his throws under Scott Frost. The Josh Heupel attack was a bit different, and the explosiveness was there, but the passing game wasn’t as sharp.
Darriel Mack is a great prospect who should rise up into the starting quarterback role – if he can comeback healthy from his broken ankle – but he only hit 51% of his throws, and Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush only connected on 53% of his throws last season with four touchdown passes and six picks.
Biggest Key To The UCF Defense
The run defense has to be nastier. As long as it hovers around the four-yard-per-carry mark – it gave up 4.17 in 2017 – after allowing 4.68 per pop last season, it’ll be doing its job.
The plays in the backfield were there. UCF was great at getting behind the line, and it created a decent pass rush, but the run defense gave up 200 yards or more seven times – it allowed that many just three times in 2017 – and now it has to rework the defensive front.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Brandon Wimbush, Sr.
McKenzie Milton was more than just the ultra-successful statistical star over the last two seasons – he was the heart-and-soul leader in the rise of UCF football. However, in terms of upside, Mack might be better.
Unlike McKenzie, Darriel Mack has the 6-3, 230-pound size, has a bigger arm, and he can run, too. He proved he was more than ready to step in and produce when he started late in the season, but with the bar set at New Year’s Six Bowl Or Bust, and with the schedule a bit tougher, the quarterback play has to be consistently fantastic. However, he suffered a broken ankle this summer, and now the spotlight is on Wimbush.
The former Notre Dame starter can move an offense, and he can run, but can he be a consistent enough passer? He’s going to get the shot to be the one to handle the high-powered attack early on.
Key Game To The UCF Season
Stanford, Sept. 14
Here we go, UCF. Here’s the regular season game against the big-name program with an honest shot to win a Power Five conference – nah, Pitt wasn’t winning the ACC last year – and it’s coming to The Bounce House.
The regular season finale against USF should be for the AAC East, and games against Cincinnati and Temple on the road and Houston at home will matter, but beating Stanford would be the street cred moment. Beat the Cardinal, take down Pitt on the road the following week, and then UCF has the resumé wins in the College Football Playoff debate.
– UCF Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 UCF Fun Stats
– Time of Possession: Opponents 34:35 – UCF 25:25
– Red Zone Scores: UCF 53-of-59 (90%) – Opponents 33-of-44 (75%)
– 3rd Quarter Scoring: UCF 125 – Opponents 43