Big plays galore could be the theme in what could be the marquee matchup of the American Athletic Conference so far this season, UCF faces Navy in a crucial conference showdown. The Golden Knights enter the contest undefeated at 5-0 and possess the top scoring offense in the nation at just over 50 points per clip. On the flip side, Navy owns the top rushing attach in the country and are averaging 397.5 yards per game. Something has to give right? The last time the Golden Knights made a trip to Maryland they walked out with a 38-10 victory over the Terrapins. We take a look at a few keys to tonight’s matchup between the No. 20th ranked Golden Knights and Midshipmen at Jack Stephens Field at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

Must stop the running game

This is a no brainer for UCF’s defense, as Navy leads the nation in rushing yards per game. Going up against a Midshipmen offense averaging nearly 400 yards a contest, the Golden Knights will have their hands up in the front seven.

Key on Navy quarterback Zach Abey 

Want to stop Navy’s read-option attack? It all starts and ends with Midshipmen quarterback Zach Abey, who has rushed for 1,016 yards and scored 12 touchdowns this season. Abey was slowed down last week versus Memphis and turned over the football five times, getting picked off twice and losing three fumbles.

Milton getting better

When McKenzie Milton plays, he’s gotten better every week and today’s game is another opportunity for the Golden Knights’ signal caller. Milton torched East Carolina last week to the tune of 324 yards, two touchdowns on 21 of 27 passing and has room to get better. That’s a scary thought for opposing defenses.

So many options, who to choose? 

That’s the good issue UCF head coach Scott Frost faces every week, as he has a plethora of offensive weapons to choose from. From the speedster Adrian Killins Jr. to wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith to running back Greg McCrae, the cupboard is certainly not bare.

Road warriors

The Golden Knights have been specifically a very good road team this season and look to continue that trend this afternoon. Game time temperature should be around 73 degrees, providing great weather. UCF out scored Maryland and Cincinnati 89-33 on the road this season. For a game that will featuring likely over 140 plays combined between both teams, it should be a doozy.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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