Big Plays: The One Area UCF Must Dominate Versus Boise State

UCF has proven to produce explosive offensive plays for years. With speed at the skill positions and the return of Dillon Gabriel, it’s the one area UCF should win easily against the Broncos.
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For the 2020 season, UCF produced many exciting offensive plays. Whether running or passing, the Knights found a way to really gouge a defense.

UCF Big Plays - 2020

cfbstats

RushingPassing

10 yards or more: 60

10 yards or more: 130

20 yards or more: 25

20 yards or more: 58

30 yards of more: 5

30 yards or more: 29

Much like the 2020 season, with an offensive skill position talent pool that possesses exceptional speed at running back and wide receiver, the Knights should be able to hit big plays during the Boise State game. 

First Game Mistakes

As mentioned in yesterday’s article and in the podcast, there will be several mental errors made during the first game. It’s just going to happen. That’s part of the start of any college football season, no matter the team. With that stated, there are two important notes to add.

First, Boise State continues to install its new defensive scheme. While the Broncos coaching staff will certainly keep the play calling more limited during a first game, even one major mistake can lead to an easy UCF touchdown. Whether it’s being confused about which coverage was called or perhaps which responsibility a Boise State defensive back thought he needed to account for, one slip up and the scorekeeper changes the UCF point totals.

Second, just sheer speed. A miscue leads to one of UCFs fast wide receivers hitting the gas and turning the corner for six; Johnny Richardson could also do something similar from the running back position.

UCF’s Offensive Scheme

The uptempo pace that UCF will sometimes utilize could be a benefit for big plays because there’s always a chance of catching a defense off guard with switching personnel between plays. That alone creates possible issues for the Broncos like a penalty for too many men on the field. That's also one direct attribute of what the Knights will do offensively.

The run-pass option (RPO). It’s one thing to prepare for those types of plays, but it’s quite another to simulate the speed and quickness of players like Richardson, as well as Jaylon Robinson, Ryan O’Keefe and Amari Johnson amongst several speedy skill players.

Jaylon Robinson and Dillon Gabriel

Jaylon Robinson and Dillon Gabriel

Once in space, it’s going to be hard to tackle the UCF playmakers during one-on-one situations. A RPO can help to create more opportunities in space. At that point, how well Boise State rallies to the football to make tackles will be vital to its success.

UCF's fast-paced offense will create issues, as will RPO plays. The man running the offense is also a problem for the Broncos.

Dillon Gabriel

Accurate. Consisent. Dependaple. Those are only three of his attributes, but most importantly, Dillon Gabriel consistently makes the plays most other quarterbacks do not.

Further, UCF possesses one of the most dangerous deep ball passers in all of college football; he’s also one of the most clutch quarterbacks as well. One can be assured that Gabriel will showcase his ability to pinpoint a pass in between two Boise State defenders more than a few times Thursday evening.

To offset Gabriel’s quarterbacking skills, the Broncos certainly need to make him move “off his spot” by generating a consistent pass rush. If not, the UCF passing game should thrive and produce big passing plays.

Final Thoughts

It will be the proverbial chess match between coaching staffs. Finding different ways to allow for their team to make big plays. Considering UCF’s recent history and skill position talent, however, there’s no question that UCF holds the advantage in this area, and the Broncos will need to find ways to mitigate the Knights’ big plays.

You will find me on Twitter @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation

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