UCF vs. Stanford fearless prediction and game preview.
UCF vs. Stanford Broadcast
Date: Saturday, September 14
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, FL
UCF (2-0) vs. Stanford (1-1) Game Preview
Why Stanford Will Win
The Cardinal get their quarterback back. KJ Costello missed the USC game after suffering a concussion against Northwestern, and while Davis Mills was okay, he wasn’t Costello.
The offense hasn’t been sharp so far, but the run defense has been a brick wall. USC averaged four yards per carry, but that’s mostly because of two decent runs. The rest of the time – and against Northwestern – the Cardinal defensive front was able to hold its own.
The pass defense was fantastic against Northwestern, but struggle against the Trojans. UCF has the weapons to stretch the field and pressure the good Stanford corners, but the passing game hasn’t been sharp. The Knight quarterbacks are completing just 53% of their passes and they’re not moving the chains well enough.
UCF is able to come up with big plays, but it’s only hanging onto the ball for just 26 minutes a game so far. Stanford has dominated the clock, keeping the ball for close to 36 minutes a game. It’ll play stall-ball, and UCF has to be able to stay focused and not press.
Why UCF Will Win
The Stanford running game had problems last year, and it hasn’t been able to pound away so far early on this season. Losing star OT Walker Little for the season doesn’t help the cause.
Dealing with Stanford is a whole other problem than handling Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic, but the UCF run defense has been swarming from the start. The defense is great at getting into the backfield with a nation-leading 28 tackles for loss, and the Cardinal O line isn’t doing enough to hold its own.
Last week, the Cardinal struggled with the dangerous USC receivers and had problems with the speedy skill parts. UCF’s receivers can fly, and the backfield is full of fast, dangerous options, and it’s getting back a few more.
What’s Going To Happen
Who’s the right quarterback option for UCF? Dillon Gabriel struggled against FAU – hitting just 7-of-19 passes – but Brandon Wimbush is healthy enough to play and Darriel Mack returns after suffering a broken ankle this offseason.
USC freshman Kedon Slovis was able to hit 28-of-33 passes last week. UCF’s quarterbacks won’t have a problem, even if Wimbush and/or Gabriel won’t be nearly as accurate.
At home with the national spotlight on, the Knight offense will work because of the running game. Stanford will use its power game to control the clock, but the ground attack won’t go anywhere, and it won’t be good enough to offset the big plays from the quick-hitting UCF offense.
It’s not going to be easy, but the Knights will survive a late Cardinal drive that will stall in the final moments.
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UCF vs. Stanford Prediction, Line
UCF 34, Stanford 27
Line: UCF -7.5, o/u: 60
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2
Must See Rating: 4
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