QB Zach Wilson, WR Dax Milne, WR Gunner Romney, TE Isaac Rex vs. CB Aaron Robinson and S Richie Grant
BYU has one of the most efficient passing attacks in all of college football. Zach Wilson is second in the entire country with 195.4 efficiency rating, second only behind Alabama’s Mac Jones. Also throw in his 38 total touchdowns and three interceptions. His receivers Dax Milne and Gunner Romney have combined for 1,854 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Rex has 10 receiving touchdowns by himself. Needless to say, BYU’s passing game should be UCF’s top concern on defense.
For the Knights, cornerback Aaron Robinson is one of the best cornerbacks in the Group of 5. He was named Second Team All-AAC with 41 tackles, seven passes broken up, one forced fumble, one tackle for loss. Walter Football named Robinson the ninth-best corner in this upcoming draft. He will be the biggest challenge in coverage for BYU’s offense. He likely will be assigned to Milne, BYU’s most productive receiver.
Safety Richie Grant is arguably UCF’s best defender in 2020. He was named First Team All-AAC with 72 tackles, a team-high three interceptions, six passes broken up, two forced fumbles and one sack. He is everywhere on the field and he will likely match up with several BYU Cougars, including tight end Isaac Rex. Grant is also an excellent run defender.
BYU secondary vs QB Dillon Gabriel, WR Jaylon Robinson, WR Jacob Harris
These two teams boast high-powered passing attacks. UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel is having almost as good of a season as Wilson, with 3,353 passing yards, 30 touchdowns and four interceptions with a 162.3 rating. Luckily for BYU, the Knights’ number one receiver Marlon Williams (1,039 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns) has opted out of the bowl to prepare for the draft. However, that doesn’t mean they are without talented pass-catchers.
Jaylon Robinson is a good receiver in his own right, as he was named Second Team All-AAC as he is second in receiving yards with 935. He is a small, shifty receiver at 5-foot-9. BYU cannot afford to lose track of him. The guys responsible for keeping him under wraps is the BYU secondary. Troy Warner leads the Cougars with two interceptions. According to reports, Chris Wilcox and George Udo will miss the game. This will further put pressure on the secondary to be on their A-game to stop this high-flying offense.
Jacob Harris, who is second on the team with seven touchdowns, is on the other end of the spectrum at 6-foot-5, 211 pounds.
DT Khyiris Tonga vs. OC Matthew Lee
This is the most underrated matchup of this game. Tonga is a mountain of a man in the middle for the Cougars who may be a draft pick this spring. He stands at 6-foot-4, 321 pounds and is one of the most feared interior linemen in football. As a nose tackle, Tonga has four passes broken up along with 35 tackles and 2.5 sacks.
On the other side, the Knights have an offensive lineman that might be up to the task of keeping Tonga out of the backfield. Center Matthew Lee is a First Team All-AAC offensive lineman and one of the better centers in the Group of 5. This will be an excellent matchup of interior linemen.
RB Tyler Allgeier vs. LB Eriq Gilyard
BYU has a more balanced attack than UCF and that comes with Tyler Allgeier running the rock for the Cougars. After missing the game against SDSU, he should be fresh for the bowl game. With 957 rushing yards, he can taste the 1,000-yard mark and will get it with a decent game against UCF. BYU will need to rely on him to keep UCF’s defense honest when they are trying to stop Zach Wilson.
UCF linebacker Eriq Gilyard will be keeping tabs on Allgeier. Gilyard is no stranger to chasing down ball carriers with 57 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and he also added a sack.
LT Brady Christensen vs. DE Landon Woodson
If there is anything that can wreck BYU’s game plan to throw the ball around the yard in Boca Raton, it’s a nagging pass rush. UCF is 33rd out of 127 schools in sacks. Landon Woodson will be lining up as the defensive end opposite of left tackle Brady Christensen. Christensen is getting some NFL love as a talented left tackle. He will need to make up for the absence of James Empey and Clark Barrington across the line.
In order for Zach Wilson to do what he does best, he will need time to throw. Keeping the UCF pass rush at bay is a must if BYU wants to win their first game in the state of Florida. Woodson has 3.0 sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.