The Central Florida Golden Knights are very healthy overall, but they have lost offensive lineman Aaron Evans for this game. It will not affect their offense. Auburn has been without RB Kamryn Pettway since mid-October and he will not be in this game either. The Tigers still have Kerryon Johnson (Probable) and he has stepped up all season long in place of Pettway, so this offense will be fine. On defense, the Tigers may be without LB Chandler Wooten, who is listed as questionable.
The Peach Bowl will take place this evening at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia and we will see the AAC Champion Central Florida Knights take on the Auburn Tigers from the SEC Conference. The Knights knocked off the Memphis Tigers 62-55 in OT in the AAC Title game, while the Tigers come in off a 28-7 loss to Georgia in the SEC Title game. These teams last met back in 1999 and the Tigers won that game by a score of 28-10.
Golden Knights Take ACC Title, Remain Undefeated
The Central Florida Knights are the lone remaining undefeated team left in college football, but because they play in the American Athletic Conference, they will not be apart of the NCAA Playoffs. Still, the Knights had a heck of a year and they come in off a 62-55 OT win over the Memphis Tigers to win the AAC Title. Remember folks that it was just two short years ago that this team was 0-12. Quite a turnaround, to say the least. The game against the Tigers was all offense and no defense, but in this one, you may see a bit more defense as the Tigers have one of the better in the nation. That will be a test for a Knights squad that had 726 yards of total offense in their win over Memphis. Leading the way was McKenzie Milton, who hit 28 of 40 passes for 494 yards with five TDs. he did have three INTs, but they did not cost his team the game. For the Year he has thrown for 3795 yards with 36 Tds and just nine INTs. He also ran for 68 yards and a TD and now has rushed for 497 yards and seven TDs on the year. He will really be tested in this game. The defense didn’t play well against Memphis, but that is one of the best offenses in the Nation. The Knights allowed 753 yards of total offense in that game and will have to work on their defense if they want to win this game.
Central Florida has been a very strong offensive team this year as they come into this game ranked 5th in the nation in total offense (540.9 ypg), 7th in passing (339.2 ypg), 34th in rushing (201.7 ypg) and 1st in scoring at 49.4 ppg. On defense, they have not been great as they come in ranked 94th in total yards allowed (428.5 ypg), 111th against the pass (262.8 ypg) and 66th vs the run (165.7 ypg), while allowing 25.2 ppg, which is 53rd in the nation.
Tigers Fail To Win SEC Title
The Auburn Tigers had a heck of a season as they went 10-3 overall and played in the SEC Title game. They fell in that game by a score of 28-7 as their offense just couldn’t figure out that tough Georgia defense. They crushed Georgia earlier in the year, so the Dawgs got their revenge in that one. Auburn would probably have been in the Playoffs had they won that game, so a question of motivation may come into play in this game for them, but then again, they do have a shot to hand the Golden Knights their first loss of the season. In the first meeting with Georgia, the Tigers rolled up 488 yards of total offense, including 237 yards on the ground, but in the rematch, they were able to muster just 259 yards of total offense, including just 114 yards on the ground. Jarrett Stidham had a rough game as he hit just 16/32 passes for 145 yards and a TD. He could have a better showing in this one against a very weak pass defense. For the year, Stidham has thrown for 2827 yards with 17 Tds and just four INTs. they also need to get their running game going in this one and that means getting Kerryon Johnson going, who had just 44 yards in the rematch with Georgia. For the year he has run for 1320 yards and 17 TDs. The defense has been very good this year, but they did allow 421 yards to Georgia and will be facing a far better offense in this one.
The Tigers have been very solid on offense this year as they come in ranked 27th in the nation in total offense (454.0 ypg), 68th in passing (225.8 ypg), 22nd in rushing (228.2 ypg) and 25th in scoring at 34.4 ppg. On defense, they have been very solid as they come in ranked 15th in total yards allowed (317.3 ypg), 17th against the pass (182.8 ypg) and 32nd vs the run (134.5 ypg), while allowing just 17.3 ppg, which is 10th in the nation.
Central Florida is:
- 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring more than 40 points in their previous game
- 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games
- 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games
The Knights are going for a perfect season, which is truly amazing as they were 0-12 just two years ago. The Auburn Tigers will not be in the playoffs, but they should be motivated in this one as they look to hand the Knights their first loss of the year. The Tigers will most likely win this game, but I didn’t see them winning by double-digits. Their defense is good, but the Knights have the top scoring offense in the Nation and just will not be stopped a whole lot in this game. If the Tigers win this game it will be by no more than a TD as the Auburn defense just won’t come up with enough stops to get the cover.
Pick: Central Florida +9.5
UCF games have averaged 74.6 ppg, while Auburn games have averaged just 51.7 ppg. This is a contrast of styles. The Auburn defense is solid, but can they slow down this UCF offense, which is tops in the nation in scoring? I don’t feel they will slow them down enough for this to be a lower scoring game. No one has been able to stop this offense this year and I don’t see the Tigers doing that in this one. I also don’t see the Knights holding down a good Auburn offense that averaged 34.3 ppg on the year. Jarrett Stidham should have a big game against a weak pass defense, especially if the run game gets rolling. I look for this to be a 38-31 type game, so go with the Over.