|12:30 PM PT1:30 PM MT2:30 PM CT3:30 PM ET7:30 PM GMT3:30 AM 北京时间12:30 PM MST2:30 PM EST, Oct. 21, 2017|
Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland Attendance: 35,277
No. 20 UCF, Navy set for high-scoring AAC clash
UCF Knights at Navy Midshipmen
- This will be the first all-time meeting between UCF and Navy. The Midshipmen's win over No. 6 Houston on October 8, 2016, snapped their 15-game home losing streak against ranked foes.
- UCF put up 63 points against East Carolina last week. That was the Knights' most points in a game since they defeated Liberty 63-0 on October 13, 2001. UCF is averaging an FBS-high 50.6 points per game this season.
- Tre'Quan Smith has five touchdown receptions of 25 or more yards this season, which is tied with three other players for the most in the FBS. The rest of UCF's players have combined for just two such TD catches.
- After turning the ball over a total of six times in its first five games of the season, Navy had five giveaways in last week's loss to Memphis. That was the Midshipmen's most turnovers in a game since October 19, 2002, when they had six giveaways in a loss to Boston College.
- Zach Abey (1016), Malcolm Perry (414) and Chris High (402) have combined for 1832 rushing yards in 2017. That is the most by any trio of teammates in the FBS.
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The power that keeps the scoreboard buzzing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis figures to be tested Saturday.
High-scoring and No. 20 ranked Central Florida (6-0, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) of the East division visits Annapolis, Md., to play West division foe Navy (5-1, 3-1), whose option-oriented offense is enough to create plenty of sleepless nights for opposing defensive coordinators.
In this case, the week will be a long one for Erik Chinander, a former Iowa offensive lineman who is the defensive coordinator for UCF.
The Midshipmen, under 10th-year coach Ken Niumatalolo, are averaging 6.2 yards per carry and lead the nation with an average of 397.5 rushing yards.
"Navy is an unique challenge," UCF head coach Scott Frost said Monday in a media conference call. "Everyone that plays them knows that. I have a lot of respect for Ken and the Naval Academy and what they stand for."
Central Florida is averaging a nation's best 50.6 points per game and is coming off a 63-21 home win over East Carolina on Saturday.
Improving quarterback McKenzie Milton completed 21 of 27 passes for 324 yards and two touchdowns, while Greg McCrae ran six times for 67 yards. Another key has been Mike Hughes, who returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown against ECU. Milton's passing efficiency rating of 203.6 ranks second nationally behind Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield.
The last visit to Maryland certainly went well for the Knights, who won 38-10 at the University of Maryland on September 23.
The Midshipmen are averaging 35.5 points per game. Navy was ranked No. 25 last week before falling 30-27 on Saturday at Memphis as quarterback Zach Abey lost three fumbles and had two passes intercepted.
"We're not going to beat anybody with five turnovers. I mean, you lose five drives," Niumatalolo said after the game. "I can't remember the last time we had five turnovers. I'm surprised we were still in the game."
It was the most turnovers for Navy since making six against Boston College nearly 15 years ago.
But Abey is a threat on the ground as he has carried 183 times for 1,016 yards and 12 scores.
How do you prepare for the Navy offense?
"It is still football. (But) it is still a limited number or practices you have to get for ready for it," Frost said. "It is going to be a really good football game. They are playing very good this year."
Central Florida was 0-12 in 2015 and then went 6-7 in the first year under Frost last season.
"I think hard work and preparation," Frost said of the turnaround.
"This offense has come a long way in a year and a half. We have filled some holes with a lot of dynamic football players. These guys really went to work on the offense. We look different than we did a year ago."
Frost, who is a Nebraska native and a former Cornhuskers quarterback, is being mentioned as a possible replacement for Nebraska's embattled third-year coach Mike Riley. Frost was asked if his Knights are ahead of schedule.
"I just think everything has gone as planned," he said.
"I took over this place and (the team) was 0-12. When I met with the players that were they were confident they could accomplish a lot more than that. They are having fun playing football. I took this job because I knew we could build something special. There are so many good players around here that love the game (in Florida). I have a great staff and these kids are playing for each other."
UCF and the AAC's South Florida -- 6-0 and ranked 16th -- are the leading contenders to land a berth in a New Year's Six bowl as the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences. Navy and the AAC's Memphis are other top possibilities.
"This is a very good league," Frost said.
"You have to be at your best to beat the teams in this league. There seems to be a different team or two at the top of this league every year. There is really good coaching in this league, and talent. You have to prepare for (different) things every week. You have to have your guys ready."
UCF beat Memphis 40-13 on September 30 in Orlando.
"We recognize this will be a tough challenge because we know how good Memphis is and this team beat Memphis," Niumatalolo told reporters Monday. "We're going to have our hands full stopping them and we're going to have our hands full moving the ball. They're undefeated for a reason."
Updated October 17, 2017