The third game of the bowl season will be played between the 6-3 Central Florida Knights and the 10-1 Brigham Young Cougars in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl on Tuesday in Boca Raton, Florida, inside FAU Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm EST. This is the seventh edition of the Boca Raton Bowl and the third meeting between the two schools all-time, with BYU winning in 2011 and UCF evening things up in 2014.
The Knights will be making their 10th bowl game appearance in the last 12 years, most notably following the 2017 and 2018 seasons when they played on New Year’s Day against national powers Auburn and LSU. They closed out the 2019 season with a 23-point victory over the Thundering Herd of Marshall in the Gasparilla Bowl.
UCF closed out this regular season with four wins in their last five games, including a shootout victory over South Florida in the finale. Their only setback during that stretch came at the hands of the undefeated Cincinnati Bearcats, who won the AAC and will face Georgia in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.
QB Dillon Gabriel leads the Knights offense, throwing for 3,353 yards and 30 touchdowns with just four interceptions this season, not to mention leading the country in total offense and yards per game. Look for the Gabriel-Marlon Williams connection on Tuesday night, with Williams ranking No. 9 in the nation with 1,039 receiving yards.
The Cougars head to a bowl game for the 15th time in the last 16 years and 38th overall, compiling a 15-21-1 record in the history of the program. Most recently, BYU fell to Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, 38-34, in December 2019.
BYU finished the regular season as the 16th ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings, with their only loss coming to undefeated and 11th ranked Coastal Carolina on December 5. The Cougars were able to bounce back after being stopped at the one yard line against CCU to defeat San Diego State in their regular season finale a week later.
The Cougars, of course, are led by Zach Wilson at quarterback. Wilson will finish in the top-10 for the Heisman Trophy but was once in the top five prior to the loss to the Chanticleers. The junior threw as many touchdowns as Gabriel (30) and was second in the nation in points responsible for (234).
BETTING LINE AND PICK
BYU is a 6.5-point favorite in the RoofClaim.com Boca Raton Bowl, with an over/under of 75. Both of these quarterbacks should be able to throw all over the field if they are afforded enough time. That makes the defenses the x-factor, and because UCF struggles against the run (ranking No. 92 in the nation in run defense), we’ll side with the Cougars. Wilson will be able to use his feet as well (running for 242 yards and 8 touchdowns this season), and though UCF will keep pace early, the BYU offense won’t let up.
Pick: BYU -6.5