Over the past two seasons, no team in college football has been as electrifying as Central Florida. UCF claimed a National Title two years after finishing the year as the lone undefeated team in the nation. Following a humbling loss to LSU to close out last year, UCF is back again in 2019 looking for retribution.
On Saturday, UCF will face a true test at home against power-five non-league foe Stanford. The teams last met in 2015 when UCF went 0-12, a low-point for the program. In a Week 2 trip to Stanford, the Knights fell flat in a 31-7 defeat in the longest road trip for any FBS school that season.
That season, Stanford won the PAC 12 title and the Rose Bowl. But since then, the Knights have risen to prominence while the Cardinal have been above average at best.
Stanford Cardinal at UCF Knights
Saturday, September 14, 3:30 p.m.
Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline.
Spread: UCF (-9 at -110)
The Cardinal offense has put up just 37 points in two games, including just 17 in a season-opening victory over Northwestern. Dropping last week’s contest by 25 to 24th-ranked USC, Stanford is in danger of dropping below .500 on the young season.
On defense, Stanford hasn’t faired much better. Opponents are averaging 351 yards per game so far this season and have scored a total of seven offensive touchdowns through two games. Last season, Stanford faced similar issues by allowing 410 yards per game to its opponents, but still managed to finish 9-4.
If Stanford is to give UCF a tight game, they’ll have to get quarterback Davis Mills and the passing game into gear. Mills has thrown for just 318 total yards this year and one touchdown.
The Knights are still figuring out their quarterback situation this season with several options. Graduate transfer Brandon Wimbush, originally from Notre Dame, has emerged as the starter but was unable to play last week.
So it was true freshman Dillon Gabriel taking the reigns last weekend. In his first start, Gabriel went just 7 for 19 but had 245 yards and two touchdowns. But it looks like he’ll return to reserve duties this weekend with Wimbush back. There’s also the return of Darriel Mack Jr., the quarterback who stepped in for the injured McKenzie Milton last year.
It hasn’t really mattered who’s under center though as UCF is still averaging 634 yards of offense per game this season. While that could take a hit against a superior Stanford team, the Knights’ defense has been superb allowing just 205 yards per game.
The total has gone under in nine of UCF’s last 12 games, mainly due to strong defense and lack of a starting QB. But against Stanford with a low projected total, this one could go over.
Expect UCF to shake things up with a dual-QB system which will propel the offense into high gear. Stanford will be able to get some points on the board but keeping up with UCF’s high-tempo style of play will be a task.
Pick: Take UCF to cover the spread and the teams should combine to hit the over in a similar scoreline to Stanford and USC last weekend.