(9) UCF at East Carolina
Time: 6 PM CT
Spread: UCF -21.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The UCF Knights improved to 6-0 last week after its 31-30 comeback win over the Memphis Tigers. The No. 9 ranked Knights travel to face East Carolina this week as 21.5-point favorites in a game with an over/under set at 65 points according to NCAA football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will air at 6 PM (CT) on ESPN2.
UCF at this point has to wonder what it can do to propel itself to a BCS playoff. It faces no top-ranked teams this season, with its two concluding games representing the closest thing to it, matchups against No. 20 Cincinnati and No. 21 South Florida.
Should UCF again finish its season undefeated and out of the top-4, it has to wonder what can even be done playing in the AAC where it dominates its opponents quite forcefully. The Knights have the No. 7 offense in the nation at 45.7 points per game while holding opponents to just 19.5 per contest. Its pass offense ranks No. 19 at 303.5 yards per game and its rush attack is even better at No. 11 with 252.0 yards per game. What more can the Knights do?
McKenzie Milton has been sensational with 1,797 yards on the season and an 8.99 yard-per-attempt average. He has 16 TD passes and just four interceptions, with a passer rating of 157.4. He is also No. 4 on the team in rushing with 204 yards on 48 attempts and a team-best six rushing TDs. Adrian Killins Jr. leads the way with 385 yards on 76 attempts and four TDs.
The Knights have 20 rushing TDs this season and another 16 via the pass. Gabrial Davis and Tre Nixon lead the team with 493 and 343 receiving yards, with eight TD receptions between them. The Knights have four more players with 160-yards or more on the season, and can really move the ball either in the air or on the ground. But what will this great team really equate to after it plows through its soft schedule?
East Carolina is 2-4 with a 0-3 mark in conference play. It lost the past two weeks to Temple and Houston, being outscored by a count of 91 to 26. The Pirates rank outside the top-100 in both offense and defense, scoring 23.3 per game and allowing 32.2 per. Its pass attack has been good for 277.8 yards per game (No. 28) but it has one of the worst rush offenses in the NCA at just 123.3 per game (No. 114).
Reid Herring has thrown for 1,502 yards but he is throwing just 55.4 percent for completion and averaging only 5.78 YPA. He has seven interceptions to his six touchdowns and a passer rating of 106.1. Hilton Ahlers has been successful at running back with 38 carries for 248 yards and five of the team’s eight rushing TDs. Herring is horrible carrying the ball, with 21 attempts for a total loss of 46 yards. Trevon Brown has led all receivers with 500 yards and three TDs, while the Pirates have five more players with 150-yards or more. The passing attack seems volatile until Herring’s inconsistency and accuracy issues are taken into account, and it can be expected the UCF defense renders the Pirates pretty ineffective as massive underdogs in this AAC showdown.