Friday Night Spotlight – Florida Atlantic v. University of Central Florida

This series will cover the most intriguing game of the Friday night games, it might not be the highest profile game.
Florida Atlantic comes into this game 2-1, with their only loss being to #7 ranked Oklahoma, and wins against Bethune-Cookman and the Air Force Academy. UCF on the other hand, comes in 2-0 after Hurricane Florence canceled their week 3 game against UNC.
FAU come into this game as huge underdogs (two touchdown) to UCF and I don’t know if this is going to be a particularly close game. But there could definitely be an upset narrative with this one, esepcially given the number of high profile upsets from last week. This list includes BYU beating #6 Wisconsin, #24 Oklahoma State beating #17 Boise State, Texas beating #22 USC, San Diego State over #23 Arizona State. The stage was set well for some more college football craziness.
FAU comes into this match having been thrashed by Oklahoma (which is not really that surprising, there’s a reason they have that top-10 little number next to their name), but I think the Air Force win is a reasonable one. This is partly due to the fact that because of the height/waist/weight requirements for the service academies they are forced to play a little differently, but it also means that they tend to have a very unique scheme. Air Force ran their triple-option formation and they had pretty good success at keeping it close, though FAU was able to overcome. The Bethune-Cookman is far less impressive, but a win is a win.
UCF’s schedule truthfully is not really all that impressive. UCF beat UConn (1-2) and South Carolina State (0-2) but they haven’t even really competed against UCF. UConn lost 56-17 to UCF and then lost the next week to Boise State 62-7, they did manage a win against an FCS school, URI, who is ranked in some of the FCS polls. UConn just barely squeaked out a win in a prolific offensive game that doesn’t seem to feature hardly any defence. South Carolina State got annihilated by UCF, having been completely shut out and not really even threatening.
UCF enters this match up averaging an absurd 600+ yards per game and a 67% 3rd down conversion rate. While not quite as prolific, FAU comes into this match still comes in averaging 450+ yards per game and a 3rd down percentage in a little more normal range, at about 37%. UCF is averaging between 7.5-8 yards per attempt (whether rushing or passing) and FAU’s passing yardage is actually slightly higher at 8.3, but their rushing statistics are much lower. I imagine this game will be as close to a defensive battle as UCF will have this season and that’s purely because they will come into the game knowing that they need to provide cover against the passing attack. There should be a substantial difference between the UCF line and the FAU line meaning that with proper aerial threat mitigation, UCF might be ablet to get to the quarterback often, or to mostly stall the FAU run game making them super predictable. UCF’s plan going into most of these games is to just outscore the opponent my a ridiculous margin and so far they’ve done it to great success, and I think that success will continue as long as they stay balanced.
I think this game will provide some excitement for the neutrals who like high-scoring games with a relatively fast pace, this probably isn’t going to be any sort of defensive masterpiece. Just be prepared for what’s to come and sit back and enjoy our the Friday Night Spotlight!
Last Updated: September 17, 2018
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