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Houston Cougars vs. UCF Knights Game Preview

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Houston’s got a lot of work to do, but that’s not stopping them from competing with the Knights.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Houston Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

What a roller coaster Houston and UCF have been on this year. Both are without their starting quarterbacks, but having promising young players starting at the position. UCF’s offense exploded last week, and so did Houston’s passing game. Are the Knights returning to their 2017 and 2018 form? Will Houston continue to surprise us and make more improvements? One thing’s for sure, UCF’s uniforms will be out of this world.

Date: Saturday, November 2nd
Start time: 11:00am CT
How to watch: ESPN2
Line: UCF -22
Location: Spectrum Stadium (Orlando, FL)


Houston Cougars Players to watch

QB Clayton Tune
WR Marquez Stevenson
OT Josh Jones
DE Payton Turner
CB Damarion Williams

UCF Knights Players to watch

QB Dillon Gabriel
WR Gabriel Davis
RB Otis Anderson
WR Tre Nixon
S Richie Grant

Houston Cougars Outlook

Houston surprised everyone by keeping things close with SMU last week, and Marquez Stevenson reminded everyone just how fast he can run. UCF’s know for their speed, but Stevenson will give them a run (literally) for their money. Protecting Clayton Tune proved to be the key once again as he threw for over 400 yards, but Houston hasn’t done that consistently. Outside of Josh Jones, Tune’s dealt with pressure from everywhere, and that doesn’t help the offense move the ball. UCF’s defense isn’t elite, but they’re still a talented group. Houston’s offense doesn’t have to worry as much as their defense does though.

The Cougars made tremendous strides defensively up until this point. They’re still not a good defense, but Joe Cauthen’s learning who his starters are, and where they excel. Damarion Williams continues to take away half of the field, but he’ll have his hands full for the second consecutive week against Gabriel Davis and Tre Nixon. Then again, the Knights should just throw them on the opposite side of Williams. They’ll have more success that way.

UCF Knights Outlook

We were beginning to wonder if the offense still had it in them. Last week’s 63 points and over 600 yards proved they’re still a dangerous group. Otis Anderson reminded everyone of his talent level with 200 yards rushing, and Adrian Killins added a great run to remind the country how fast he can run. The Knights should win the matchup against Houston’s defense, and the question should be if they can eclipse last week’s production.

On defense, UCF must apply pressure to Houston’s offensive line. Previous teams used this strategy, and it worked extremely well. The Cougars offensive line is inexperienced, and can get fooled by complex blitz packages. Covering Houston’s receivers won’t be easy, but sending pressure often will help the secondary (though that’s a talented group for the Knights too).

Prediction

Houston showed they can keep up with SMU (or rather slow them down a little), but it’s tough to see them do that again. UCF’s another beast to tame, and it would be surprising to see the Coogs keep things close in Spectrum Stadium. UCF 42 HOUSTON 21