Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl: #12 UCF Knights and #7 Auburn Tigers
Knight's Dynamic Offense Takes on Auburn's Stubborn Defense
The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl will be played at 12:30 p.m. on Monday, January 1 in Atlanta, Georgia. This contest will feature a team from the AAC, the #12 UCF Knights (12-0), and a club from the SEC, the #7 Auburn Tigers (9-3). This Knights were first in the AAC West, going 8-0. The beat #20 Memphis in the title game 62-55 in OT. Auburn won the SEC West by beating Alabama in the final game of the regular season 26-14 and finished with a mark of 7-1. The Tigers lost the SEC championship game to #6 Georgia 28-7. Our UCF plays Auburn 2018 Peach Bowl pick has the Tigers favored by 11 and the over/under at 67.0.
The Knights are scoring on average 49.4 PPG while running and passing for 540 yards per game. They average 339 YPG passing and 201 YPG rushing. This is a dynamic offense that puts points up in bunches. QB McKenzie Milton (69.2 COMP%, 35 TDs, 9 INTs) is tough to stop as a passer and runner. Milton has 93 carries for 497 yards and seven TDs. He’s averaging 5.3 YPA. RB Adrian Killins Jr. (112 ATT, 762 YDs, 6.8 AVG, 10 TDs) has solid rushing chops, while five different receivers have 25 catches or more. WR Tre’Quan Smith (54 REC, 1,082 YDs, 20.0 AVG, 13 TDs) leads the team in all receiving categories. The UCF defense is allowing the opposition 429 yards per game of offense. They are giving up 263 YPG to the passing game and 166 to the run. Those stats could spell trouble when they meet Auburn. Top performers on defense include DBs Kyle Gibson (56 TCKLs, 4 INT, 4 PD) and Mike Hughes (44 TCKLs, 4 INT, 11 PD) and LB/DB Shaquem Griffin (62 TCKLs, 5.5 SCKs, 10 TFL).
- QB Milton is a fine passer and rusher
- Defense has some fine performers
- Solid rushing and reception groups
The Tigers offense is averaging 454 YPG in offense, which includes 228 YPG rushing. They’ve been putting up on average 34.4 PPG. QB Jarrett Stidham (66.7 COMP%, 17 TDs, 4 INTs) is solid. His top receiver, Ryan Davis, has grabbed 76 passes for five TDs and 768 yards. RB Kerryon Johnson (263 ATT, 1,320 YDs, 5.0 AVG, 17 TDs) is a highly productive runner who can also do the job as a receiver. On defense, the Auburn is holding teams to 17.3 PPG and 312 YPG. That includes 178 yards in passing and 134 in rushing. LB Jeff Holland (43 TCKLs, 8.5 SCKs, 11.5 TFL) is a massive force leading the team in TFL, sacks and forced fumbles (4). LB DeShaun Davis (75 TCKLs, 4 SCKs, 7 TFL), who leads the team in tackles, is a stopper. The deep back situation for the Tigers offers spotty and uneven play. Can Auburn control such a dynamic offense as that offered by UCF? The Knight’s pass attack is especially daunting.
- Good D but problems protecting against pass
- RB Johnson very tough to stop
- Stidham is good at QB, but not great
Three Peach Bowl Takeaways
Our UCF plays Auburn 2018 Peach Bowl pick includes this trio of takeaways-
- QB edge UCF
- RB edge Auburn
- Defensive edge, maybe Tigers
Our 2018 Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Pick
We do expect a lot of points to be scored in this game. Can the Knights play up to the level of the Tigers? We think they can keep it relatively close. Our UCF plays Auburn 2018 Peach Bowl pick is the Knights at +11.0 and the over at 67.0.