UCF Knights vs. Stanford Cardinal Game Preview

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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t’s crazy how far the UCF Knights have come to get to this point. Just a few years ago, this team didn’t win a single game, and now they’re favored against a formidable Power 5 opponent. If you ‘re a UCF Knights fan that endured the struggles, you are enjoying the success. Hosting an opponent of Stanford’s caliber is something that should happen every year, but politics ruin that. For now, we get a battle in the Bounce House. Stanford’s off to a rocky start, but give the Knights a look they haven’t seen before. UCF and their fans provide an experience that the Cardinal haven’t seen either.

How to watch: ESPN
Start time: 2:30pm CT
Line: UCF -7.5
Location: Spectrum Stadium (Orlando, FL)

UCF Knights keys to the game

Play UCFast
Disciplined defense
Calm quarterback play

Stanford Cardinal keys to the game

Run, run, run
Limit explosive plays on defense
Pressure whoever UCF puts at quarterback

UCF Knights players to watch

QB Dillon Gabriel/Brandon Wimbush/Darriel Mack
RB Adrian Killins/Otis Anderson/Greg McCrae

Stanford Cardinal players to watch

QB KJ Costello (152 yards passing, 1 TD)
RB Cameron Scarlett (233 total yards, 1 TD)
LB Casey Toohill (11 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks)

Why the UCF Knights win

People underestimate how fast UCF Knights players can run. Adrian Killins is the fastest football player we’ve seen since Oregon’s DeAnthony Thomas, and that’s just the beginning. The Knights are loaded with talent, so if one player’s covered they find another option that’s just as dangerous. Just like the rest of the season, it comes down to UCF’s quarterback play. Dillon Gabriel and Brandon Wimbush continue their battle for the starting job, but another player gets added to the mix. Darriel Mack returned after sustaining an injury, but we’re not sure if we’ll see him. Regardless of who (or how many guys) plays, they need to protect the ball. Distribute the football to the playmakers, and stop Stanford’s rushing attack. How UCF handles the Power formations that Stanford lines up will determine the outcome too.

Why the Stanford Cardinal win

KJ Costello’s return to the offense gives life to an offense that needed it last week against USC. David Shaw’s staff will need to find a way to stop the UCF offense, and their success in that goal determines the outcome. With the secondary on their team, the Cardinal can play man coverage and force UCF’s quarterbacks to beat them through the air. They can also present different looks for the UCF defense. Extra linemen and multiple tight end looks aren’t what the Knights are used to seeing, so that element could be the key for the Cardinal to win.


I want UCF to blow out Stanford, but that seems too much to ask. UCF will give Stanford all they can handle with their speed. The Knights also will receive everything they can handle with Stanford’s offense too. UCF 31 STANFORD 28

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