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Friday, March 31, 2023


Tale of the Tape: Houston vs UCF


Senior running back Kenneth Farrow rushed for 68-yards against Texas State. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar


The No. 21 Cougars (6-0, 3-0) look to keep their undefeated streak alive as they travel to Orlando for an American Athletic Conference matchup against the University of Central Florida Knights (0-7, 0-3).

Coming off a decisive 42-7 victory over the Tulane Green Wave last Friday, the Cougars look to keep pace with other top teams in the AAC West.

Quarterback matchup: Greg Ward Jr. vs. Justin Holman

Greg Ward Jr.

Ward continued his historic season with another four-touchdown performance against Tulane, going 17-for-25 for 222 yards with one touchdown in the air and adding 77 yards on 14 carries with three rushing touchdowns.

The junior is ranked third in the nation in completion percentage (71.8%) and is the only signal-caller averaging 200 passing and 100 rushing yards per game.

Justin Holman

Holman has struggled this season going 60-for-117 for 571 yards and a 3:5 touchdown to interception ratio. Against a Temple defense that is giving up 328.4 yards per game, Holman was unable to find any consistency as he went 10-for-31 for 67 yards and threw two interceptions.

He’ll face an opportunistic Cougar defense that held the Green Wave to 262 offensive yards and captured one interception.

Who wins: Against a defense that is giving up nearly 400 yards a game, Ward will add to his already impressive season and show voters just why he is being compared with the best quarterbacks in the country.

Running Back matchup: Kenneth Farrow vs. C.J. Jones

Kenneth Farrow

Despite not reaching the end zone last week, Farrow was able to find holes against Tulane as he racked up 77 yards on 14 carries and now has 511 yards on the season with an average of 5.1 yards per carry. The Cougars sport the 10th best rushing offense in the country, averaging 279.2 yards per game.

C.J. Jones

It will be tough sledding for Jones and the entire UCF rushing attack as they try to find holes against a Cougar defense that ranks 11th nationally, allowing only 98.5 yards per game. Jones leads a Knight backfield with 154 yards on 46 attempts but has yet to reach the end zone.

Who wins: The Knights will have a tough time finding any room with a unit that is averaging just over 50 yards per game. The Cougars’ defense is one of the best defenses in the country, so Farrow pulls away as he will be able to take advantage of the weaker defense.

Wide Receiver matchup: Demarcus Ayers vs. Tre’Quan Smith

Demarcus Ayers

The do-everything player showed off his versatility against Tulane, catching six passes for 93 yards and totaled 175 punt return yards, including a 73-yard touchdown.

Ayers has found good chemistry with Ward, totaling 46 passes and averaging over 93 yards per game.

Tre’Quan Smith

The Knight leader in both receptions and yards will look to rebound against a Cougar defense that has shown holes at times after a lackluster two-catch, 17-yard performance against Temple. Smith has been the most consistent option in the passing attack, with 22 receptions on the year for 293 yards and two touchdowns.

Who wins: Ayers, the reigning AAC Special Teams Player of the Week, will continue to show off his versatility against a defense that has been susceptible to the pass at times.

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