NCAA: Cure Bowl Preview- UCF Knights vs Arkansas State Red Wolves

The UCF (Golden) Knights take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the Cure Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL on December 17th. The Knights, who have bounced back from an 0-12 fiasco in their last year under George O’Leary (an some interim coaches, and probably Brent Key in all reality) to a 6-6 record.

The Knights can finish 2016 a winner if they can upset Ark State. The Red Wolves slipped from 9-4 to 7-5, and could string together another good season with a win. The Knights are favored on the S&P+ standing at 70 while Ark State sits at 92, ASU however has a bigger win by defeating Troy while UCF really just has a “big loss” narrowly losing to Houston.


Arkansas State brings a spread zone 10 and 11 (HB/TE) personnel scheme on offense and a 4-2-5 defense into the Cure Bowl.


Below, you can see the ASU standard inside zone read play. The first GIF is a give, while the second shows a keep read. The keep read is actually scrape exchange (which we talked about a few months ago on IMFB) and the QB is left staring an ILB in the eyes but makes a nice little inside cut and works into the end zone.

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IZ/OZ teams need to have a strong play-action passing game and ASU does. Below you can see an OZ PA that hits an outside receiver on a dig route. The ILB’s bite hard on OZ and it leaves the middle of the field open.

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Below, ASU motions to empty inside the 10 and the WR runs a drag and up while the TE runs a corner. The corner drags the safety and CB, while the WR slips behind the ILB to catch the TD up the seam.

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The ASU defense is a base 4-2-5 we see all over the country. The Knights like running their 11 personnel (HB/TE in the wing).

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Above, this is a nice look at how the Red Wolves defend 20 personnel

I would predict the same type of formation against UCF’s 3-back triple option as seen below.

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Below, UCF runs a nice little stretch play getting the speedy back to the outside.

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If I’m UCF, I would focus on stopping the split-zone plays because it’s an easy adjustment for ASU to add and they run well inside the 10 as did Houston against UCF.

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UCF will need their steady pass rush and playmaking rush linebacker Shaquem Griffin to keep making plays against ASU and their play-action game. Watch Houston use some of that same PA game to score on the Knights below:

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Both teams love to create turnovers. They tied for 43rd in the country in turnover margin so expect the defenses to take the ball away in the Cure Bowl.


The final touch is the kicking game. The kicking game plagued UCF in their early loss to Michigan and the Red Wolves love to run tricks off their rugby punt like below…

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