The Line: -7.5 Knights.
Kickoff: Saturday 3:30 P.M, Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: AM 740
ORLANDO, Fla. – UCF (5-0) takes on Navy (5-1) this week after taking care of business against ECU in their own homecoming. Navy lost a tightly contested matchup with Memphis last week and should be itching to get back out there on Saturday.
“I bet they’re hungry. Nobody wants to take two L’s back-to-back, especially not the first L. That’s just the game we play in,” said UCF Defensive Lineman Jamiyus Pittman.
This is the first contest between UCF and Navy, ever. Playing at Navy is never easy. Naturally, the environment is much different from your average college campus.
“It’s going to be a different atmosphere, there is going to be 4,000 Midshipmen in uniform, there is possibly going to be some cannon fire,” Javon Dewitt UCF’s linebacker coach said on playing at Navy. Dewitt formally served as special teams and outside linebacker coach at Army West Point. “There is going to be guys carrying weapons around, not your normal security.”
UCF’s coaching staff has continuously spoken about the discipline that Navy brings to the football field. These players are getting prepped for things that carry a little more weight than 3rd and 8.
“You don’t see a lot of missed assignments, and that’s a reflection of their academy. They are disciplined guys,” Coach Walters said on Tuesday morning.
As far as the optics on the field Saturday, you’ll see some Amish-style football. Navy runs the triple option, one of few programs left in the world that continue to perform at a high level in the run-first offense. Sophomore quarterback Zach Abey has only thrown the ball 47 times through six games. Quarterback Zach Abey has been excellent running this system. Most of his damage has come on the ground.
Abey has rushed for 1016 yards and twelve touchdowns, all the while tossing five touchdowns and 491 passing yards. Their routine pass plays can be explosive because the defense is never expecting it. Option teams routinely rank among the league’s best in yards per completion.
“Their quarterback has done a lot of the heavy lifting this year. He’s got a lot of those three and four-yard gains, he’s broken some big ones and I think he can throw the ball.,” Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander on preparing for Zach Abey. “Those 80-yard completions will kill us, so we have to do a good job of not letting things get behind us,”.
On the defensive side of the ball look out for junior Safety Sean Williams. Sean Williams leads the team in tackles with 33, has forced and recovered a fumble and deflected four passes.
Navy is a tough team, and it is their homecoming game, expect a ruckus atmosphere. They are going to slow the game down, and keep UCF’s electric offense off the field. This could be one of UCF’s toughest opponents of the year.