AAC Championship Game Preview, TV, Betting and More

Memphis Tigers (8-4) at #8 UCF Knights (11-0)

  • Start Time: 3:30 PM EST
  • Location: Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Fl
  • TV: ABC
  • Line: UCF -3, O/U 65
  • FPI: UCF 76.6%
  • Series: UCF 12-1, UCF 31-30 this season

Memphis

The Tigers are back in Orlando for the third time in less than two years and facing the Knights for the fourth time in that same time span, with an offense led by running back Darrell Henderson (1,699 yards, 19 TD) and quarterback Brady White 92,947 YARDS, 25 td).

Henderson is either on fire or ice cold. Tulane shut him down, outside of two plays. UCF couldn’t stop him for a half and then after that, the Knights defense didn’t let him do anything.

In the last four games, he has 551 yards and six touchdowns. Who knows which one shows up on Saturday; it will be interesting to watch him face a defense that seemed to figure him out earlier this season.

Memphis on defense gives up nearly 30 points per game, which is less than ideal. But it doesn’t hurt that the offense is putting up 43.8 points. They aren’t great against the pass; they are 99th in passing down efficiency and give up 242.8 YPG through the air.

Memphis’ rush defense will be one of the keys to the game. UCF QB Darriel Mack is a huge threat to run and running backs Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins have run all over teams the last few weeks.

#8 UCF

Well, this is the Knights toughest test. Their leader is out after a horrific leg injury in their game Friday evening.

I asked Forgotten 5’s medical expert and site boss Nic Lewis to explain what happened:

So, similar to what happened with Zach Miller for the Chicago Bears, his knee was dislocated. That sounds less bad than a break, but it’s actually worse. Obviously your knee ligaments hold things in place, and dislocating means things got displaced, which includes those ligaments.

In his case, much like Miller, the way in which it was dislocated caused not just ligament damage, but also nerve and artery damage, which is more pressing.

Ligaments are fixed all the time; arteries and nerves are much more sensitive, and can only take so much stress or be in an abnormal state for so long before they become less and less likely to recover.

He’s had the first surgery to fix and relocate the nerve and artery, which is good. That greatly improves the odds of recovering normal function, with the lone caveat being the slow recovery to make sure that once the nerve and artery have recovered, the leg muscles that are supplied also recover.

Without Milton the Knights are a slightly different team; Darriel Mack is a bigger guy who can run a lot better than Milton. He also has a cannon for an arm but isn’t nearly as accurate as Milton.

In the six games Mack has played in, he is 21/43 for 174 yards as well as 281 yards rushing with two touchdowns.

If the Knights want to keep their offense rolling, they will need McCrae and Killins to have big games. In the last four games, McCrae has 511 yards and six touchdowns. Killins doesn’t have the effect that McCrae has in the running game, but he kills teams by catching passes in space.

Defensively, the Knights need to keep playing defense like they have the last two weeks. They’ve slowed down Cincinnati, and a struggling USF team. Now they have to slow down Henderson and company. They did it for the second half of their first matchup, will they do it again?

Prediction

Round two (or four, whatever you want to call it) should be just as good as the first one. These two teams know each other well. I honestly think having Mack at QB gives UCF an advantage because Memphis knows how to limit Milton, but they don’t know how to limit Mack just yet.

With that being said, I don’t think UCF needs Milton to beat the Tigers. Mack will do just fine, and the Knights’ win streak will move to 25.

A late Memphis touchdown will make the game seem closer than the reality.

#8 UCF 31- Memphis 24

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