I imagine by now you’ve seen the claim from this guy:
UCF's leading rusher believes Auburn is in for a "rude awakening" in the Peach Bowl because "SEC football, they don't have a lot of speed, honestly. So, Auburn hasn't seen any speed like we have here." https://t.co/J6aIb6JKaP pic.twitter.com/zlE4Uf7zjs— Tom Green (@Tomas_Verde) December 14, 2017
The Knights’ leading rusher, Adrian Killins, thinks that his speed is too much for Auburn, or anyone in the SEC for that matter.
Okay. One, it’s never a good idea to antagonize the opponent leading into a game, no matter which side you’re on. Two, he’s not just referring to himself, but the entire UCF team. He seems to think that Jeff Holland and Deshaun Davis, Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown, Tray Matthews and Carlton Davis don’t have the speed to compete with the mighty Knights from Orlando.
I’ll give it to him, Killins is very fast. Check out the 1:37 mark in this video. He absolutely burns through the Memphis defense on a long touchdown run. Maybe he thinks Tigers of all stripes are one and the same. Auburn will be a much tougher group to run through that Memphis.
Killins is the main guy that Auburn will need to worry about, but he’s not big, and should the Tigers get a hand on him, it’ll likely be an easy tackle. Killins has run for 762 yards on 113 carries this year to go along with 10 touchdowns.
However, he stands at just 5’8 and 158 pounds. Honestly, dude may be broken in half by Tre Williams.
Helping out with the rushing attack, quarterback McKenzie Milton helps out a lot with 93 carries on the year and seven scores, but tailback Taj McGowan is more of a classic tailback, standing at 6’1, 210. He’s more of a short-yardage back averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt with eight scores on 69 carries this year.
Other guys that Auburn may see carrying the ball include Otis Anderson (no relationship to former Miami Hurricane Ottis Anderson), who’s actually a wide receiver. He has run the ball 58 times this year, though, averaging 7.9 yards per carry with four touchdowns in addition to his receiving numbers. Other than that, Cordarrian Richardson (45 carries, 161 yards, two touchdowns) and Greg McCrae (25 carries, 148 yards, two touchdowns) are also candidates to take a handoff from Milton.
UCF makes its bones by throwing the ball, but they’re a very effective team on the ground, averaging 201 yards per game and 5.2 yards per carry on the season. They obviously set things up through the air, but they’ll be liable to hit a big play on the ground by involving guys from all over the field in the rushing attack.
Whether Killins’ claims seem silly or not, Auburn will need to slow down the rushing attack for UCF, even though it seems like the run game isn’t what matter to the Knights when you look at the stats. Four times this year, UCF has averaged less than four yards per carry, but those games resulted in 44, 40, 26, and 7 point victories. The lack of production from the run game didn’t really seem to matter, it’s there in large part to keep the opposing defenses honest. It’s worked.
We’ll keep checking out the offensive side of the ball next. Auburn and UCF meet in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day, and there’s much more to break down. War Eagle!