Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Where: Spectrum Stadium
When: Saturday, September 14, 2019, 3:30 pm ET
The Pac-12 meets the American Athletic Conference when the Stanford Cardinal travel to Orlando, Florida for a non-conference matchup with the #17 ranked UCF Knights. This will be just the second meeting between the two schools with the Cardinal winning their only meeting in 2015.
Stanford is 1-1 this season and enters their contest with UCF coming off a 45-20 loss to USC. The Cardinal holds a decisive 11-3-1 record against AAC schools and Head Coach David Shaw is hoping for a bounce-back performance from his student-athletes on Saturday.
UCF is 2-0 this season and gave FAU a 48-14 beatdown in their previous meeting. UCF is just 2-8 when hosting a Power Five school and Head Coach Josh Heupel is hoping for a similar result against Stanford as they did against the last meeting wit a Power Five school, a blowout victory over the Pitt Panthers.
Stanford Falls From Top 25 After Upset by USC
Stanford went to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as the 23rd ranked team in the country. They left licking their wounds as an injury-riddled USC Trojans scored 21 second-half points and defeated the Cardinal by a score of 45-20. Stanford junior quarterback Davis Mills threw for 237 yards with a touchdown and one interception and senior running back Cameron Scarlett rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown in the loss to USC.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) September 10, 2019
UCF brings the fifth-best scoring offense to this game and Stanford is going to have its hands full dealing with the Knights and their 634 total yards of offense the Knights average per game this season. The Cardinal allow 247 passing yards per game and that fits right in the Knights wheelhouse and its 309 passing yards per game. If Stanford can’t step up and stop the Knights in general, and freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel in particular, the Cardinal is in for a long afternoon.
Mills has been decent this season, but he’s up against the 17th ranked passing defense in the country and on their real estate. The offensive line hasn’t done a very good job of protecting its quarterbacks, allowing their signal-callers to be sacked four times this season. The UCF rushing defense is #15 in the country, allowing just under two yards per attempt. Scarlett is averaging nearly five yards per carry and Scarlett is the key beating Stanford Saturday afternoon.
UCF Faces First Test of Season
The #17 ranked UCF Knights are 2-0 on the season after defeating FAU by a score of 48-14 before a hostile FAU Football Stadium crowd. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel finished with 245 passing yards and two touchdowns and junior wide receiver Greg McCrae rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown to lead the Knights to their road opening victory.
UCF Knight Talk returns Wednesday night at 7p live from @Burgeru_UCF. Join us and hear from @coachjoshheupel and others in advance of the Stanford game. Listen at 96.9FM/740AM/@iHeartRadio(search 96.9 The Game) pic.twitter.com/NM9fPkOJcl
— UCF Marc Daniels (@ucf_marcdaniels) September 11, 2019
The Knights ground game is averaging 350 rushing yards per game and is up against a Cardinal defense that returns five starters from their 2018 squad and allows 104 rushing yards per game this season. That’s quite a contrast and McCrae as well as UCF leading rusher, sophomore running back Bentavious Thompson, will be severely tested by a solid FBS school.
The Knights love to throw the football and average 309 passing yards per game and that could be a beautiful thing against a Cardinal defense allowing 8.2 yards per reception and 247 passing yards per game. Leading the way in receiving for the Knights is junior wide receiver Gabriel Davis, with six receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Jacob Harris could also be in line for some extra targets and has 74 receiving yards on two catches for one touchdown.
UCF Has A Good Work Ethic.
“When one guy has a great work ethic, that becomes contagious because competitively, these guys don’t want to be outdone. So now these guys in that room push each other and have a great time doing it. They don’t worry about who is in the game at any one time and being envious. Whoever it is, his biggest fans are standing right there next to me.
“When AK has a great play, those guys love seeing it. It doesn’t matter who it is–it’s great chemistry. Then when you have young guys coming into that, you’ve got a really high standard.
“All these guys are different, but they all ultimately want to be better. I want to help each one of them improve on the things he wants to get better at. That’s my job, to point out the thing they can do better. I want guys in the room that can do everything because that makes us really good.”
- Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Knights are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight-up win.
- Knights are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- Cardinal are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in September.
Updated on Sep 14 at 8:20am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Golden Knights have grabbed 81% of the bets this week and yet have gone from just -8 up to -9. The Sharps are keeping the line movement on UFC down in this one.
Injury / Weather Report
Stanford’s’ Impact Injury Report
Doubtful: LB Jacob Mangum-Farrar and OT Foster Sarell
Out: OT Walker Little and LB Ricky Miezan
UCF’s Impact Injury Report
Questionable: DB Brandon Moore
Out: WR Jaylon Robinson
Weather: Mid to upper 80s with possible thunderstorms.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a tough one and if the game were in Palo Alto, I would be playing Stanford all the way. UCF may have played a soft schedule thus far, but they are a good football team playing at home against a Cardinal team coming off a horrible road defeat and get to travel cross-country in their first game back. That UCF defense may not be as good as their numbers, but they are fast and should be able to get the job done.
The Knights return eight starters on offense from last season and it’s there that UCF is the better team. Stanford plays good defense at times but UCF is deep, fast and experienced and should be able to outscore the Cardinal by at least two touchdowns.
I’m laying the wood and playing UCF to cover on Saturday.
Prediction: UCF -7.5
Full-Game Total Pick
If UCF is going to cover, their offense is going to be on fire and I suspect the Knights defense might not be as good as their numbers. That means I expect a shootout on Saturday afternoon and that means we’ll see plenty of points as the defenses get gassed chasing all those speedsters from both sides around the field. A 48-30 type of a shootout is what my math and is pointing to and the fact this game opened at 55.5 doesn’t faze me in the least.
I’m playing the OVER on Saturday!!
Prediction: Over 61.4 Points