UCF Still Has Tools To Cover In Low-Scoring AAC Rematch Vs. Memphis

memphis

Rainman M.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 2:03 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 2:03 PM UTC

Get the latest college football picks on the AAC title game between UCF and Memphis. The game from Orlando, Florida, is Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC. Bet confidently with tips from SBRpicks.com.

Memphis (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) at Central Florida (11-0 SU, 8-3 ATS)Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)Free NCAAF Picks: UCF ATS and 'Under'Best Lines Offered: Bookmaker

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3680759, "sportsbooksIds":[93,19,139,1275,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3680759, "sportsbooksIds":[93,19,139,1275,238], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

UCF and Memphis will meet for the fourth time in two years. The Golden Knights won all three meetings, including last year’s AAC Championship, and covered two of three. Based on its top-10 ranking, UCF has a good chance to play in a New Year’s Six bowl if it prevails. UCF will try to win without quarterback McKenzie Milton, who suffered a leg injury in the second quarter of last week’s game against South Florida. Despite his absence, UCF outscored South Florida 21-7 in the second half en route to an easy cover.

The Golden Knights are still dangerous on offense without Milton, who has been replaced by Darriel Mack Jr. After all, more than 100 teams pass more frequently than they do. UCF features three running backs -- Greg McCrae, Adrian Killins, and Taj McGowan. Killins receives the greatest workload and averages 4.8 yards per carry. McCrae and McGowan are home run hitters. The former averages nine yards per carry on 99 carries and the latter averages 6.8 YPC on 67 carries. Last year, the Golden Knights ran for nearly 600 yards in two games (one of which reached double overtime) against Memphis. UCF accomplished this feat even though Memphis boasted an experienced front seven last season that ranked about as highly as it does now in terms of opposing YPC.

One might counter that Central Florida won’t be able to run as well without having a pass attack that poses as much of a threat as it would with Milton. UCF, though, boasts an offensive line that ranks top-10 in numerous statistical categories. For example, the Golden Knights rank 13th in percentage of carries that gain at least four yards. UCF’s offensive line excels at creating holes for its running backs to explode through.

While UCF’s offense will score enough, its defense will make the biggest difference in this game. UCF’s defense already showed the ability to step up when, down 30-17 at halftime to the Tigers in the regular season, it shut out Memphis in the second half. The Golden Knights stopped Memphis’ rush attack from doing any more damage. Like UCF, Memphis is a run-first team that features multiple talented backs. The offensive line, though, is missing departed AAC first-team guard Gabe Kuhn. It excels in short-yardage situations, but that’s it. For example, it ranks 63rd in stuff rate, meaning its running backs often don’t make it past the line of scrimmage.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

\"They continue to just play and compete for one another.\" -Heup

One team. One heartbeat. pic.twitter.com/Bgn8OWwQNi

— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) November 26, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

Memphis is not the only run-first team to challenge UCF. UCF also faced Cincinnati and South Florida, both of which rank top-40 in YPC. Neither team could muster even two touchdowns because it lacked a passing attack with which to complement its running game. Memphis has similar problems. Brady White consistently struggles against better secondaries. He has produced good numbers only against abysmally ranked pass defenses such as UConn and East Carolina. He has had efficient games against stronger pass defenses such as Tulsa, but much at the cost of yardage.

When Memphis fell behind Power 5 opponent Missouri and White was forced to push the ball downfield in a way that he didn’t have to do against Tulsa, then White failed to complete more than 40 percent of his passes and he threw two interceptions. Central Florida ranks 17th in opposing passer rating. It is too stacked for White, who was mediocre at home against UCF. He’ll play worse in Orlando, though. He has achieved an 8:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio at home, but only 9:5 on the road where his completion percentage is also 17 percent lower than it is at home. His poor road performance partly explains why Memphis is only 2-3 ATS on the road compared to 6-1 ATS at home.

Like they did against South Florida, the Golden Knights will continue to channel their emotion positively and rally around their beleaguered quarterback. Matchup wise, they will prevail behind their superior rushing attack. Memphis has consistently fared better against pass-first teams, while failing to cover against the conference’s run-first teams and against teams such as Missouri who could gash its run defense, which UCF has already demonstrated the ability to do. Both teams, though, are limited by a quarterback who struggles to push the ball down the field, which will lower the game’s overall scoring. But Memphis’ quarterback will make more mistakes on the road. Central Florida has covered five consecutive home games in this matchup and is getting a discounted price on the college football odds board. Back them to extend their streak in your NCAAF picks.

comment here