ORLANDO, Fla. – No. 18 UCF fights to remain undefeated this weekend against the UConn Huskies in the battle-formerly-known as the Civil ConFLiCT, one of five perfect teams remaining under the scrutinizing gaze of the College Football Playoff Committee.
The Committee ignored UCF’s one-score win over the Mustangs in this week’s polls, cementing the Knights at the No. 18 spot for the second consecutive week. UConn doesn’t provide much more fuel to stoke the fires of progress but will present Orlando’s Hometown team the opportunity to put on a dazzling show in their first of two final regular season home games.
UConn Quarterback David Pindell
Huskies’ quarterback Bryant Shirreffs is out for this one, still navigating his way through the concussion protocol. He had been one of the few bright spots on this UConn team, second to only McKenzie Milton in the American’s leaders in pass efficiency. He has posted a 14-5 TD:INT ratio and has completed 65.8% of his passes – a significant loss for a team only rushing for 132.6 yards per game.
Junior quarterback David Pindell was 3-4 for 37 yards in relief of Shirreffs last weekend, not leaving much on the tape.
AAC-Worst Pass Defense
McKenzie Milton and company will be facing an FCS-level pass defense in the UConn secondary. Giving up a conference-worst 378.6 yards per game, and leading the highway to defeat with 28 surrendered passing touchdowns, the Huskies’ glaring weakness is in the second-level defense.
In their four conference losses, UConn has allowed opponents to score 37, 41, 49 and 70 points – 20 points per game more than they scored in the defeats.
UCF Defensive Back Competition
Nevelle Clarke has all but stolen the starting gig from Brandon Moore, who has seen a drop in playing time to accommodate the returning talent. Defensive Coordinator Erik Chinander said this week that even Hughes’ will be affected by Clarke’s return as the team rotates all three backs with the number one unit.
This means getting all three on the field in obvious passing downs as well. Moore has come on as of late, but no longer does UCF have to suffer if a team is able to take advantage of the redshirt freshman’s youth. UConn’s damaged passing attack serves up a feast of opportunity to separate from the pack.
Clear Mind, Total Focus
Coach Frost celebrated the birth of his first child this week to widespread attention across the fanbase. He had been a wreck in Dallas in anticipation of the pregnancy, saying that it affected his playcalling and that he was ready to hand the duty over to Coach Walters.
The anticipation and distance were the drivers of anxiety for the Head Coach, and he has said the anxiety has completely dissolved.