Photo courtesy of UCF athletics

UCF and Houston will enter Saturday’s contest with a combined three losses. In each of those losses, the losing team led in the fourth quarter.

The Knights enter Saturday’s contest at Houston with a record of 3-2. UCF snapped a 2-game skid last week with a solid 51-34 win. Houston is coming off a victory over Navy.

It will likely be the offenses that shine on Saturday as the contest features the top two passers in the American Athletic Conference. UCF sophomore Dillon Gabriel leads the nation with nearly 2,200 passing yards and 19 touchdown tosses. Houston’s Clayton Tune is much improved, averaging 315 passing yards per game with nine total touchdowns and just two interceptions this season.

UCF has not only nation’s leading passer, but the nation’s leading receiver. Marlon Williams tops the country in that category with more than 750 yards. The Knights are loaded at the skill positions with other names to include running backs Greg McCrae and Otis Anderson to go along with wide receiver Jaylon Robinson, who also ranks in the top five nationally in receiving with more than 600 yards.

Averaging just 3.1 yards per carry as a team, Houston has been more 1-dimensional. The name to know for the Cougars is senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson. Stevenson leads the team with 266 yards receiving and three touchdowns on a solid 17.7 yards per catch.


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Defensively, it’s been an adventure for both teams. Houston yields the fewest yards per rush in the AAC, but the most yards per pass attempt. The strength for the Cougars is up front as senior defensive linemen Payton Turner and David Anenih have combined for five sacks.

UCF is allowing a lot of points, but compensates for it by forcing turnovers. The Knights have ranked in the top five nationally in turnover margin in two of the previous three seasons and are currently second behind Wake Forest.

Safety Richie Grant is among the best in the country as his position. He currently leads the Knights with two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Kenny Turnier ranks second in the AAC with four sacks on the year.

If there is an area where Houston has a decided advantage, it may be in the kicking game. Dalton Witherspoon hit a 53-yard field goal last week against Navy and is 5-for-6 on the season. He’s also perfect from inside of 40 yards.

Saturday’s contest begins at 2 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN+. The Knights erased a halftime deficit last season to outscore the Cougars 23-6 in the second half of a 44-29 victory. It will be the first meeting at Houston since 2016.

Prediction: UCF 48, Houston 38

Other Games Across the State

College Football

UTSA (4-3) at Florida Atlantic (1-1)
Saturday, Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. ET (Fox Sports Regional)

UTSA could surpass last season’s win total with a victory. Florida Atlantic will look to bounce back from its first Conference USA loss in more than a year.
Prediction: Florida Atlantic 24, UTSA 23

Missouri (2-2) at No. 10 Florida (2-1)
Saturday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network Alternate)

After two weeks off due to positive COVID-19 tests, Florida will return home to take on Missouri on Saturday night. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask leads the SEC with 14 touchdown passes. The Tigers look to improve to 3-2 all-time in Gainesville.
Prediction: Florida 37, Missouri 27

NFL

Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at Miami Dolphins (3-3)
Sunday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. ET (FOX)

Tua Tagovailoa will make his much-anticipated first career start at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. He’ll be facing a Los Angeles Rams defense that ranks second in fewest points per game allowed. The Dolphins will be looking for their first 3-game winning streak since the start of 2018.
Prediction: Rams 24, Miami 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2) at New York Giants (1-6)
Monday, Nov. 2 at 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won consecutive games by at least 25 points for the first time in their history. The New York Giants rallied from 18 points down to beat Tampa Bay in last season’s match-up. It was the first career start for quarterback Daniel Jones.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 35, Giants 17

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.