As the University of Central Florida travels to Maryland this weekend to take on Navy, they will look to stay one of the eight unbeaten teams in the nation. However, they will be tasked with a tough task in stopping the elusive ground game of the Midshipmen. As we mentioned earlier this week, the triple option that Navy runs on offense will challenge the defense of UCF and keep them on their toes all game long. Here are the three keys to UCF staying undefeated:
Control the play Zach Abey
Midshipmen quarterback Zach Abey is having a highlight reel season, already accruing over 1000 rushing yards and over 400 yards passing. Abey also became the first quarterback in Navy history to rush for 200 yards and pass for 100 yards in a single game. Abey has incredible field vision as well, knowing when to hold on to the ball or when to wait until the last second to pitch it for more explosive runs. With the versatility that Abey brings, the Knights will need to control his play early as everything within the triple option starts with him.
Protect McKenzie Milton
Milton once again played exceptionally well last week against East Carolina, tacking up 21 completions, 324 yards and two touchdowns in the game. He has the ability to duplicate that performance against a Navy defense that has allowed an average of 235 yards per game through their first six games. Wide receivers Tre’Quan Smith and Jordan Akins are having remarkable seasons thanks to the play of MIlton, but the offensive line also deserves credit for keeping Milton upright. He has only been sacked three times all year long. Keeping Milton on his feet and able to create plays will be crucial in UCF’s biggest test to date.
Stamina, Stamina, Stamina
Navy runs the ever explosive triple option that has allowed for the MIdshipmen to break off big plays and keep defenses guessing. It also allows for them to wear down the opposing defenses by switching directions of the plays and which side of the field they want to run to. This will be where the preparation of the Knights defense will be evident. As the defense will be on their toes all game long, they will need to stay consistent in their pursuit of the ball from start to finish. The second the Navy coaches see UCF’s defense with hands on their hips or slow to get set on the line of scrimmage, they will have the upper hand. Head coach Scott Frost must have his defense ready for a lot of movement, rotation of players, and to battle the fatigue of a strong Navy running game.
UCF has the ability to continue its current successes under Frost with a win against Navy today, who will be looking to avenge their first loss of the season from last week.
The Knights will kickoff in Annapolis, MD at 3:30pm.