UCF vs Duke prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. Military Bowl Presented by Peraton, Wednesday, December 28
UCF vs Duke Military Bowl Presented by Peraton Prediction Game Preview
UCF vs Duke How To Watch
Date: Wednesday, December 28
Game Time: 2:00 ET
Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: UCF (9-4), Duke (8-4)
– Sign up and live stream college football on ESPN+
UCF vs Duke Military Bowl Presented by Peraton 5 Things To Know
– It’s been a while since Duke has made any sort of football noise. After three losing seasons, it’s back in the bowl mix with a strong winning season under first year head man Mike Elko.
The offense has been balanced, the defense has been good enough, and the team comes into this winning four of its last five games. The team isn’t missing much of anything compared to the regular season version, unlike …
– UCF is going to have to do some shuffling. The offense lost a slew of key receivers and parts from the defensive back seven, and QB John Rhys Plumlee is coming off a leg injury and is very, very questionable to go in this.
It was a good season for the Knights, but they came up short in the AAC Championship loss to Tulane and it wasn’t quite the dominant season to get back to a New Year’s Six game like they were hoping for. However, they’ve won nine games, they have a way of rising up in the moment, and …
– It’s UCF in a bowl game. Gus Malzahn’s bunch took down Florida in last year’s Gasparilla, and over the last several years the program has been large in good post-season performances. Malzahn, though, has been just okay in bowl games going 2-5 at Auburn before getting last year’s win over the Gators.
– Bowl games aren’t a regular thing for Duke. This is just the 15th in the program’s history, but after a rough start it’s been good when it gets to the post-season. It hasn’t been to a bowl since beating Temple in the 2018 Independence – the game that took Daniel Jones’ NFL stop up a few notches – but it won three straight after losing five in a row since the 1960 Cotton.
– We’re finally getting a Military Bowl again after the last two were canceled with COVID issues. Before that it was a bit of a rough run for the game over the 12 versions with just two decided by seven points or fewer.
Why UCF Will Win The Military Bowl Presented by Peraton
The Knights might be taking a hit to the passing game with the lost parts, but the running attack should still be able to get going from the start.
John Rhys Plumlee was the team’s most dangerous runner when it tried to take off, but RB Isaiah Bowser is good enough to take over if he can get into a groove. He didn’t have any monster games, but he was steady throughout the year.
Now he has to be a workhorse against the Duke defensive front. It’s been good against the run, but it has a rough time on third downs and has a bigger issue against teams that can throw.
Again, UCF probably isn’t going to get moving much through the air, but as long as it’s able to connect on the midrange throws – and get Bowser and the rotation of backs moving – the offense might be okay.
Against FBS teams, Duke is 0-4 when allowing more than 106 yards and 7-0 when allowing fewer. UCF ran for fewer than 130 just one in the loss to Navy, but …
Why Duke Will Win The Military Bowl Presented by Peraton
UCF really does have to get going on the ground, or else.
On the flip side of what happens when the Duke run defense doesn’t hold up against the running game is what happens when USC doesn’t run wild. It’s 0-3 when it doesn’t get to 160 yards and is 2-3 when it doesn’t come up with at least 250 yards – and 7-0 when it does.
Duke hasn’t allowed more than 217 all year.
The Blue Devils get the job done by controlling the clock, owning third downs, and dominating in the turnover battle. That’s going to be an issue for the other side.
UCF might have had the best offense in the American Athletic Conference, but it also had a big problem with turnovers with two or more in six of the last 11 games and seven in the last three.
Duke turned it over just ten times all season and was +14 on the year in turnover margin going 5-2 when coming up with two or more takeaways.
NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, UCF vs Duke Prediction, Military Bowl Presented by Peraton History
UCF vs Duke Military Bowl Presented by Peraton, What’s Going To Happen
Duke is close to being like its normal regular season self, and UCF isn’t. That doesn’t mean Gus Malzahn’s team can’t play – it’s going to get up for this – but the ACC team should be too consistent.
The defense will hold up fine against a Knight offense that won’t be able to do enough through the air, and the attack should be relatively mistake free.
QB Riley Leonard will misfire a bit too much early, but he’ll settle in as the Blue Devils will overcome a rocky start to take over the game. They’ll convert on two takeaways to get a little bit of breathing room late in the third.
UCF vs Duke Military Bowl Presented by Peraton, Prediction, Line
Military Bowl Presented by Peraton History
Dec. 27, 2019 North Carolina 55, Temple 13
Dec. 31, 2018 Cincinnati 35, Virginia Tech 31
Dec. 28, 2017 Navy 49, Virginia 7
Dec. 27, 2016 Wake Forest 34, Temple 26
Dec. 28, 2015 Navy 44, Pittsburgh 28
Dec. 27, 2014 Virginia Tech 33, Cincinnati 17
Dec. 27, 2013 Marshall 31, Maryland 20
Dec. 27, 2012 San Jose State 29, Bowling Green 20
Dec. 28, 2011 Toledo 42, Air Force 41
Dec. 29, 2010 Maryland 51, East Carolina 20
Dec. 29, 2009 UCLA 30, Temple 21
Dec. 20, 2008 Wake Forest 29, Navy 19