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#LastFrost: UCF vs Auburn Peach Bowl Preview

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The Knights look to finish their season with a perfect 13-0 record.

NCAA Football: American Athletic Conference Championship-Memphis at Central Florida Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Monday, January 1st

Kickoff: 12:30pm EST

Location: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta, GA)

TV: ESPN

Stream: WatchESPN

Line: Auburn -9.5

Series Record: Auburn 3-0

Only one game stands in between the Knights and a perfect 13-0 record. This season has been a rollercoaster of emotions from 40+ point victories to double OT championship games to our coach walking away from the program. There’s only one feeling this team and their fans have yet to feel, and that’s defeat.

There’s no doubt that Auburn is going to be UCF’s toughest test of the season. That’s not to take away from the quality of opponents the AAC provides, but we’re talking about an Auburn team that took down TWO #1 teams in one season. Many will argue that they should have been given the last spot in the playoffs which I agree with.

UCF’s nation-leading offense, that’s scored 31+ points in 12 consecutive games, will match up with Auburn’s defense that hasn’t allowed more than 27 points scored against them. To be fair, I don’t think either team has faced similar opponents. UCF is small and speedy and that’s not something Auburn has seen much of in the SEC. On the flip side, Auburn has the size advantage. The SEC recruits a different breed of football player and I don’t think UCF has seen anything similar.

KEYS TO VICTORY

  • UCF has to win the turnover battle. I don’t think the Knights are going to force a lot of 3 and outs. Playmakers like Mike Hughes and Shaquem Griffin are going to have to step up and get the ball back to the offense. I think we’ll see that turnovers will play a key role in the outcome of this game.
  • The Knights will have to hold their own in the trenches on both sides of the ball. McKenzie Milton is going to need enough time to make good decisions and get the ball in the hands of one of his weapons. The offense won’t click if he’s running for his life on every play. Starting LT Aaron Evans will be out for this game so we’re counting on the next man up which will likely be Jake Brown, RS So. On the defensive side of the ball, the front seven has to try their best to neutralize Kerryon Johnson while facing a big Auburn offensive line.
  • If I’m Scott Frost, I’m being mindful of my play calling on offense. We’ve seen it earlier in the season where he’s adjusted the tempo to keep the opposing offense off the field. I think we may see some of this, especially if the UCF defense isn’t having enough success.

What a magical ride it’s been this season for the UCF Knights. Win or lose, they still get to walk away with an undefeated regular season, a conference title and a top-20 ranking. In what will be the last ride for these players with their seniors and their coaching staff, expect the Knights to leave every ounce they have on the field.

SCORE PREDICTION: UCF 42, Auburn 38