UCF Knights Will Face No. 14 BYU Cougars in Boca Raton Bowl on December 22

By  //  December 14, 2020

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7 p.m. at FAU Stadium

UCF’s trip to Boca Raton, Florida, for the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl pits the Knights against 14th-ranked and once-beaten BYU. (UCF Image)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – UCF’s trip to Boca Raton, Florida, for the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl pits the Knights against 14th-ranked and once-beaten BYU.

UCF (6-3) and BYU (10-1) will square off at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 in FAU Stadium on the Florida Atlantic University campus in Boca Raton. ESPN and ESPN Radio will provide the coverage.

The Cougars will provide a major challenge for UCF in every phase of the game—with BYU ranking as the only team in the country to stand in the top 10 nationally in total offense (10th at 510.1 yards per game), total defense (10th at 308.9), scoring offense (eighth at 43.0 points per game) and scoring defense (third at 14.6). In addition, BYU boasts the top-ranked field-goal kicker in the nation (13 for 13 by sophomore placekicker Jake Oldroyd), and the Cougars rank 16th in net punting.

“BYU plays complementary football, in terms of offense, defense and special teams, as well as any team in the country,” says UCF head coach Josh Heupel. “This will be a tremendous challenge for our football team—and certainly one our players are excited about.”

BYU finished 10-1 (7-0 at home), with its only loss at unbeaten and ninth-ranked Coastal Carolina (22-17) in a game that ended with the Cougars on the Coastal Carolina one-yard line. BYU currently ranks 14th (AP) and 16th (coaches poll) and the Cougars ranked 18th last week in the CFP poll. BYU is one of only four FBS teams that have won at least 10 games so far in 2020—joining Alabama, Notre Dame and Coastal Carolina. The Cougars ranked as high as eighth in the AP poll prior to the loss to Coastal Carolina.

It’s the first 10-win season since 2011 for BYU against a 2020 schedule ranked 21st-most difficult in the country by the NCAA. The Cougars are coached by Kalani Sitake, concluding his fifth year. BYU is playing in a bowl game for the 15th time in 16 years.

BYU boasts one of the best defenses in the country—ranking third in scoring defense and 10th in total defense. The Cougars held three different opponents scoreless in three of four quarters. They also complete 72 percent of their passes, score 43 points per game and average 510 total yards and 323 passing yards. Only two teams in the country—North Carolina and Alabama—have recorded more first downs in 2020 than BYU.

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson and UCF counterpart Dillon Gabriel both have thrown 30 TD passes. Wilson ranks second nationally in TD passes and points responsible for, third in passing efficiency, fourth in completion percentage—and he’s the first BYU quarterback in 11 years to throw at least one TD pass in every game.

The Cougars are led by junior signal-caller Wilson (3,274 passing yards, .731 completion percentage), junior wide receiver Dax Milne (1,099 receiving yards), redshirt sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier (957 rushing yards), redshirt senior rover Isaiah Kaufusi (184 tackles) and redshirt sophomore middle linebacker Keenan Pili (184 tackles).

BYU has won at least eight games 11 times over the past 15 years (including 2020) and boasts 10 or more wins six times during that span. Competing as an independent since 2011, the Cougars have eight bowl victories over those 15 seasons. This is a preview of two upcoming regular-season games between UCF and BYU: 2023 at the Bounce House, 2024 in Provo. These two teams played twice previously–in 2011 (BYU won 24-17 in Provo) and 2014 (UCF won 31-24 in OT in Orlando).

A limited public ticket sale is expected at a later date, with pandemic protocols in place. The game has been approved for 20% stadium capacity. UCF donors and season-ticket holders already have been contacted by the UCF Ticket Office.

Fans unable to attend this year’s bowl game who would still like to support the UCF football program may consider making a donation to the Keep Charging On Fund. All donations are tax-deductible and accrue priority points for future post-season ticket allocation.

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