College Football Preview: Navy (2-7) at UCF (8-0)
Navy Midshipmen (2-7, 1-4) at UCF Knights (8-0, 5-0)
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018; 12:00 pm ET
Orlando, FL: Spectrum Stadium
The 2-7 Navy Midshipmen will face the undefeated UCF Knights on Saturday afternoon in Orlando. The contest will be just the second meeting of the schools on the gridiron. UCF beat the Mids last year in Annapolis, 31-21.
The Knights are ranked No. 11 in the national polls and are on a 21-game winning streak, the longest in the FBS. Under first year head coach, Josh Heupel, UCF ranks third in the nation in total offense (548.8) and fifth in rushing offense (268.3). The Knights are also No. 2 in the country in turnover margin (+1.75) and fumbles lost (1). UCF is ranked in the top-ten in scoring offense (45.4), turnovers gained (20) and turnovers lost (6).
Navy enters Saturday’s game on a six-game losing streak, the school’s longest since 2011. While the Mids rank first in the nation in red zone offense (1.00) and third in rushing offense (286.9), head coach Ken Niumatalolo’s team has struggled to find consistency in its offense and efficiency in its defense. Ranking 102nd in both total defense (441.4) and pass defense (255.0), the Mids have failed to find much to celebrate this season.
Here’s a look at how the teams matchup in the numbers.
Points per Game: NAVY: 25.1… UCF: 45.4
Rushing Yards: NAVY: 286.9… UCF: 268.2
Passing Yards: NAVY: 71.9… UCF: 280.5
Total Offense: NAVY: 358.8… UCF: 548.8
Penalties/Yards: NAVY: 33/30.6… UCF: 67/74.5
Time of Possession: NAVY: 34:12… UCF: 26:03
1.) Malcolm Perry (882 yards)
2.) Nelson Smith (319 yards)
1.) Greg McRae (572 yards)
2.) Adrian Killins (463 yards)
1.) Garret Lewis (398 yards)
2.) Malcolm Perry (185 yards)
1.) McKenzie Milton (2,109 yards)
2.) Darriel Mack (93 yards)
1.) Taylor Jackson (198 yards)
2.) CJ Williams (148 yards)
1.) Gabriel Davis (556 yards)
2.) Tre Nixon (403 yards)
1.) Taylor Heflin (62 total tackles, 6 for loss)
2.) Hudson Sullivan (61 total tackles, 6 for loss)
1.) Richie Grant (65 total tackles, 1.5 for loss)
2.) Nate Evans (56 total tackles, 4.0 for loss)
UCF Players to Watch
• McKenzie Milton (QB): Completing 136 of his 233 pass attempts, Milton has recorded 2,109 yards, 19 passing TDs and five INTs. On the ground, the QB has rushed for 572 yards and three TDs.
• Gabriel Davis (WR): Leads UCF in receiving with 35 catches for 556 yards and five TDs.
• Tre Nixon (WR): Scored three TDs with his 31 catches for 403 yards.
• Greg McRae (RB): The NAPS transfer, leads the Knights in rushing, averaging 9.7 yards per carry. McRae has run in for three TDs this season
• Adrian Killins (RB): 23rd in the nation in all-purpose yards with an average of 125.38 yards per game, Killins has rushed for four TDs on 100 carries.
• Rashard Causey (DB): His three forced fumbles rank ninth in the nation.
• Nate Evans (LB): His two fumble recoveries rank 13th in the nation.
• Richie Grant (DB): With his 65 tackles, Grant has four interceptions, ranking fourth in the nation.
The Key to a Navy Win
• The Elusive Find: Navy must find whatever it is they’ve been missing the entire year. Cohesiveness? Constancy? Sharpness? Whatever “it” is, the Midshipmen must find it Saturday to have a chance to beat UCF.