ORLANDO, Fla. – It appeared Central Florida was the perennial favorite in the American Athletic Conference before being upset by Cincinnati on the road. Now, coming off a bye, the Knights have a chance to rebound and win their 19th straight home contest against East Carolina on Saturday night.
TV: 7:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: UCF -33.
The previously show-stopping UCF offense was silenced by Cincinnati, scoring just eight points in the second half. Turnovers could be chalked up as the reason for poor play as quarterback Dillon Gabriel threw three interceptions while the team as a whole also fumbled thrice, though only losing one. The Knights also failed to establish the run, one of their strong suits. The nation's 29th-ranked rushing attack has a chance to rebound against a Pirates team that has been dominated on the ground by other top AAC opponents Navy and Temple.
ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (3-3, 0-2 AAC)
Quarterback Holton Ahlers has thrown just six touchdowns on the season to five interceptions, though he had his best game of the year in the team's most recent contest against Temple. Receivers Blake Proehl and C.J. Johnson have each been on the receiving end of two of Ahlers' touchdown passes. On the other side of the ball, defensive back Ja'Quan McMillian has seven pass breakups, tied for 12th in the FBS.
ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (4-2, 1-1)
The Knights have four running backs with at least 30 carries, 200 yards and two touchdowns on the year, with junior Greg McCrae leading the unit with 403 yards and five scores. Despite the poor performance against Cincy, Gabriel has thrown for 1,635 yards and his 15 passing touchdowns leave him tied for 10th in the nation. Wide receiver Gabriel Davis has been on the other end of eight scores, tied for eighth best in the nation.
1. UCF is second in the FBS in big plays.
2. The Pirates have been held under 20 points four times.
3. The Knights rank third in the nation in total offense despite being 120th of 130 teams in time of possession.
PREDICTION: UCF 55, East Carolina 16