For the second straight year UCF will get a shot at an SEC team in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. The AAC team will take on the SEC team on Jan. 1 in Arizona. Here is the 2019 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Preview.
LSU Tigers (9-3)
While LSU maybe expected more at one point in the season, Ed Orgeron did a solid job getting them to nine wins. They defeated five bowl-eligible teams with their biggest win coming over Georgia. All three losses were to bowl-eligible teams.
The Tigers score 31.8 points per game, which ties them for 44th in the country. They rush for 174.4 yards (ranked 58th) and pass for 214.7 yards (ranked 80th) per game.
Joe Burrow has stepped up in some key situations for the Tigers this season from the quarterback position. The Ohio State transfer has thrown for 2,500 yards, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions on 57.4% completion. Six pass-catchers have over 200 yards, but Justin Jefferson is the leading receiver. He has 50 catches for 788 yards and four touchdowns.
Nick Brossette has taken over in the running game with 922 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been a solid backup with 626 yards and six touchdowns. Burrow is able to run when necessary too and has seven touchdowns on the ground this season.
LSU has the 22nd ranked scoring defense, allowing 20.9 points per game. They give up 139.1 rushing yards (ranked 38th) and 206.8 passing yards (ranked 44th). Although they will be without top corner Greedy Williams, who is out as he prepares for the NFL Draft, they will have linebacker Devin White. He is one of the best in the country and has racked up 115 total tackles this season.
UCF Knights (12-0)
A lot of credit is due to Josh Heupel, who took over for Scott Frost and kept everything steady for another undefeated record heading into bowl season. The Knights beat five bowl-eligible teams this season, not including their second win over Memphis of the season in the AAC Championship Game.
UCF puts a lot of points on the board at 44.2 points per game, which ranks them sixth in the country. They rush for 276.5 yards (ranked fifth) and pass for 268.9 yards (ranked 29th) per game.
While they will be without starting quarterback McKenzie Milton, Darriel Mack has filled in well. He has thrown for 522 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions on 57.1% completion. The Knights have seven receivers with at least 200 receiving yards this season. Gabriel Davis leads the team with 50 receptions for 756 yards and six touchdowns.
A variety of different running backs produce for the Knights, but Greg McCrae leads them all with 1,101 yards and nine touchdowns. Adrian Killins Jr. and Taj McGowan have provided a nice change of pace with over 1,100 rushing yards between the two of them. Mack has also run well over the last few games, totaling 340 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground this season.
They are tied for 23rd in the country, allowing 21.3 points per game. The Knights give up 227.4 yards on the ground (ranked 117th) and 196.2 yards through the air (ranked 32nd) per game. Defensive back Richie Grant has six interceptions this season, which is tied for third in the country.
Mack has certainly played well in Milton’s absence, but he did start off the game against Memphis poorly. LSU’s defense will be a stiffer test. The defense will shut down the UCF offense and the LSU offense will run the ball effectively to win the game.
LSU Tigers 31 UCF Knights 16
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