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Football match analysis and score prediction: Tulane at UCF

ORLANDO – This should be a game UCF wins, but there is one particular category that makes this competition difficult to project. That would be the health of quarterback Tulane Michael pratt.

Regardless of what anyone associated with Tulane Athletics says ahead of Saturday’s game, there is a strong story that shows writers and college football fans should at least be wary of the so-called injury news concerning a college quarterback.

Basically, just whether or not Pratt had the option to play as early as Friday morning, when this article was published, means little to what will happen at 4 p.m. EST at Bounce House on Saturday. First, coaches lie about injuries. Check that they are constantly lying about injuries. It’s a rite of passage for many college coaches, so keep that in mind. Pratt’s injury status, of course, could change. Nobody knows.

That said, the following analysis will be uniquely based on Pratt not playing, as he missed training during the concussion protocol earlier this week. Here’s how Tulane’s game at UCF breaks down with Pratt not in the lineup.

Can Tulane quarterback Kai Horton show a big improvement?

Yes Kai horton doesn’t elevate his game significantly from his poor first start as a Tulane quarterback against Cincinnati, it might not really be a contest. The following stats represent what Horton did as a passer and runner against the Bearcats last Saturday:

7/16 for 79 yards and two interceptions, no touchdowns, and rushed eight times, resulting in a loss of 16 yards.

Needless to say, Horton would like to forget his last departure. The Tulane coaching staff would probably like to do the same.

At the bare minimum, Horton needs to pass 150 yards and not turn football against a UCF pass defense that has grown stronger in the last two games. This is going to be a tall order, and also why Tulane will seek to protect Horton by running the game.

UCF Rushing Defense will be challenged

With an inexperienced signalman making his second start to college, Tulane will be leaning on the legs of two very good running backs in Tyjae spears and Cameron Carroll. It’s a unique combination of Spears being a slasher that can make defenders miss, while Carroll provides return power that punishes defenders.

In the last two games, the combination of Spears and Carroll has totaled 335 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind, despite Horton leaving against a talented Cincinnati defense last Saturday and the Bearcats ready to stop the race, Tulane will be running for 187 yards as a team. Spears and Carroll accounted for 170 of those rushing yards.

With a very talented, well-trained and disciplined offensive line, look for Spears and Carroll to combine at least 140 rushing yards and at least one touchdown. The question will be even more about defending the red zone, as Horton is unlikely to be very good at passing the ball into a tight zone.

UCF’s defensive ends stay hot

Just because Horton will pass the baton does not mean he will face minimal precipitation pressure. With defensive end Tre’mon Morris-Brash being the third defensive end to consistently apply pressure on the quarterback over the past two games, expect the Knights to take down Horton two or more times. It will be a good game with Tulane’s offensive line, as the Green Wave has allowed 21 sacks so far, but Horton will likely only pass when needed, as well as attempt to execute quick passes with very little sack. ‘opportunities to rush the quarterback, at least during the first part of the contest.

Tre’mon Morris-Brash is now part of a three-headed monster for the Knights on the defensive end

Once the UCF starts to stuff the race at least every now and then, forcing more difficult downhill and distance situations, that’s when the Knights will likely reach out to Horton and sack him. If UCF establishes a lead and Horton has to pass steadily, he could go down five or more times. The Knights have registered 10 sacks in the last two games.

The only question here will be Big kat bryant, Josh celiscar or Morris-Brash leading the UCF defense in the sacks this week? Plus, don’t overlook the linebackers and defensive tackles from Horton’s sacking.

More Isaiah Bowser, please

Going on the offensive, with a rushed defense from Tulane allowing 185.0 rushing yards per game, ranking him No.103 out of 130 FBS teams, there’s a good chance the Green Wave defense will see the running back. Isaiah Bowser throughout the game. This match represents a chance for Bowser to run the 200 yards, assuming he breaks a long run for the first time this season.

At the very least, Bowser should rush for 125 yards and a score. He’s too tall, too athletic, and too smart as a runner not to tear up a poor defense from Tulane. Then the rabbit will also enter the game.

Johnny richardson provides different equipment which is difficult to handle. Look for Richardson’s longest postponement of the year against a Tulane defense that typically sees defenders miss their run-gap responsibilities. At some point in the game, Richardson will snatch a long run due to a good blocking and the failure of Tulane’s defense to hold his assignments.

Keene on top

It probably won’t be a game Keene needs to keep it going all the time. Even so, he could pass for two or three touchdowns without going over 20 passes, much like throwing five touchdowns against Temple while completing 15 of his 21 pass attempts. It’s not the quantity that counts here, it’s the big play possibilities that count, especially on the pitch.

Whether it is action plans for Ryan o’keefe or take crossing roads for Brandon johnson, there will be opportunities to connect with passes that travel 20 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage.

Tulane simply needs to bring more defenders into the box than they would like to slow Bowser’s ability to lead the game, and that will cost the Green Wave no later than the end of the second quarter. Keene can’t make more than 15 passes, just like last Saturday. It won’t matter. Keene will be throwing over 200 yards because of big plays.

Prediction

It will be a game where the UCF takes control and pulls away in the middle of the third quarter. The UCF defense will give Horton some fits, which will also dampen the scoring chances once Tulane hits the red zone.

Additionally, UCF’s balanced offensive offense will be able to run or pass consistently against a very poor Tulane defense. There is no reason to believe this will suddenly change after the Green Wave has played eight games. The Knights will score early and often, and that will continue until the fourth quarter.

UCF 49 Tulane 17

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