NCAA FB

UCF hoping to provide speed bump for Baylor

Share This Story

   
 

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP)

Central Florida mostly contained Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, faced the pass-happy offenses in Conference USA last season, dealt with the up-tempo chaos of June Jones' SMU Mustangs.

The Knights have never seen anything like what they'll face in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day.

Waiting for them in the desert is No. 6 Baylor, a team that plays as though it's stuck on fast forward and this season piled up more yards than every team but one in FBS history.

''Baylor is their own kind of monster,'' Knights linebacker Terrance Plummer said on Monday.

Monster is a good way to describe it, at least to the teams who have tried getting in the Bears' way.

Using a balanced attacked designed by coach Art Briles, Baylor (11-1) was an unstoppable force all season, leading the nation with 53.3 points per game. The Bears scored at least 70 four times in their first six games and were held under 30 once, by Oklahoma State in their only loss of the season.

Baylor put up video-game numbers of total offense, averaging 624.5 yards per game, second all-time in FBS history to Houston (624.9) in 1989 and 51 more than the next-closest team this season.

The Bears had their biggest game against West Virginia on Oct. 5, setting Big 12 records with 864 total yards and 73 points in a blowout victory.

Perhaps the closest thing Central Florida (11-1) saw to Baylor this season was South Carolina, which averaged 170 fewer yards and nearly 20 fewer points. The Knights lost to the Gamecocks 28-25 on Sept. 28

''They have a very explosive offense,'' Central Florida coach George O'Leary said. ''I don't think anybody is going to stop them. I think you have to slow them down and get off the field. That's the big thing when you play Baylor.''

The problem is trying to figure out what to stop.

With most high-scoring, yards-amassing teams, the focal part of the offense is usually a strong passing or running game. Find a way to stop that one aspect and you'll have a pretty good shot at beating them.

Baylor is equally good at passing and running.

During the regular season, the Bears were fifth nationally with 359 yards passing and 12th with 262 yards rushing.

Bryce Petty was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the country and has a large cache of explosive receivers. Preventing teams from ganging up on him is running back Lache Seastrunk, who ran for 106 yards per game.

And this is nothing new for a Briles-led team. While at Houston, he led the first team in FCS history to have a 300-yard receiver and 200-yard rusher in the same game.

''The thing is, they're such a fast-paced team, but they're a fast-paced team with a running game and you don't see that nowadays because everyone wants to pass the ball,'' Plummer said. ''They're so well-tempoed, so well-paced and that's the challenge, trying to get lined up, trying to make plays in the open field because they're so fast in what they do. We just have to focus as a team and make sure we know our assignments.''

Between Baylor's proclivity for putting up big numbers and Central Florida's rise from a smaller conference - well, at least one not the size and stature of the Big 12 - the Knights are decided underdogs.

Baylor is favored by 16 1-2 points, the biggest spread in any of the 35 bowl games, and some predictions have them winning by four touchdowns or more.

But the Knights aren't exactly slouches on the defensive side of the ball.

Central Florida finished 19th nationally in total defense, allowing 346 yards per game, and was one of the few teams to slow down Bridgewater during the early part of the season, when he seemingly could do no wrong.

The Knights are positionally sound, rarely miss assignments and have a defensive-minded coach in O'Leary.

''They do a great job schematically defensively,'' Briles said. ''They don't get themselves out of position with alignment. They're productive in how they approach the game. We're just playing a well-coached football team.''

Are they good enough to slow down the Bears? We'll find out on New Year's Day.

Tagged: Florida, Baylor, Louisville

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash