UCF Knights – East Carolina Pirates College Football Preview

The UCF Knights (8-3, 4-1) will head to take on the East Carolina Pirates (8-3, 2-0) this week in a battle between two strong teams. This game will feature the country’s fourth-leading passer, Carden (3,622 yards, 22 TDs). It will begin Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN.

East Carolina beat Tulsa 49-32 last week. Carden had a huge game through the air in the victory, completing 28 of 41 pass attempts for 338 yards, four TDs and one interception. Hairston had 91 yards on six carries. UCF was victorious last week as well, beating South Florida 16-0 in their matchup. Hall had a quality performance, racking up 84 total yards and a score. He did most of his damage on the ground, registering 65 yards and a TD. Perriman added 55 yards and a TD on six receptions.

The Knights are a six-point underdog against the Pirates and the Over/Under (O/U) for the matchup is set at 55 points. Heading into Week 15 of the college football season, the Pirates are 8-3 Straight Up (SU) and 5-6 Against The Spread (ATS). In their five most recent matchups, the Pirates went 3-2 SU and 1-4 ATS. Lately, the Pirates have put on a show offensively, averaging 519.6 total yards in the last five games. Averaging just 18 points per road game, UCF might struggle against the Pirates defense. UCF’s offense will need to use all of its options against the seventh-ranked Pirates run defense, which gives up just 103.4 rushing yards per game. If this game is going to be close, the Knights need to watch out for East Carolina’s thieves in the passing game. They average the 25th-most interceptions with 1.2 per game. East Carolina usually finishes home games strong, averaging 12.4 points in the fourth quarter.

On the other side, the Knights have 8-3 SU and 7-4 ATS records this season. In the previous five games, UCF has a record of 4-1 both SU and ATS. Offensively, the Knights have really picked up the pace in the last five games. They have exceeded their season average of 27.8 points per game by averaging 32 during that stretch. Averaging 174.2 rushing yards over their last five games, UCF’s running backs have really turned it on as of late. For the season, they’ve only averaged 130.7 yards per game. The Knights defense has trended upward in the past five games as well. They lowered their points allowed per game to 16.8 by giving up an average of 13 points during that five-game span. The UCF defense has given opposing running backs fits this season. Opponents average just 105 rushing yards per game against this scary group.

Predictions: SU Winner – UCF, ATS Winner – UCF, O/U – Under

Notes

Central Florida is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games.

East Carolina is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games.

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Central Florida’s last 6 games on the road.

East Carolina is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games.

Central Florida is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games on the road.

The total has gone UNDER in 4 of East Carolina’s last 6 games.

The total has gone OVER in 4 of Central Florida’s last 6 games when playing East Carolina.

East Carolina is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home.

Central Florida is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games when playing East Carolina.

The total has gone OVER in 6 of East Carolina’s last 9 games at home.

Central Florida is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against East Carolina.

East Carolina is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Central Florida.

East Carolina is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing Central Florida.

The total has gone OVER in 4 of East Carolina’s last 6 games when playing Central Florida.

East Carolina is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Central Florida.

UCF is 8-0 SU when leading at the half this season. East Carolina is 7-0 SU when taking a lead into halftime.

UCF is 7-0 SU when leading at the start of the 4th quarter this season. East Carolina is 6-0 SU when leading at the end of the third quarter.

UCF is 3-1 SU this season in games where it wins the turnover battle, and 3-2 SU in games where it loses the turnover battle.

East Carolina is 3-1 SU in games where it wins the turnover battle, and only 1-2 SU in games where it loses the turnover battle.

The UCF defense has forced an average of 2.4 turnovers per game this season, but East Carolina is 5-1 SU when turning the ball over at least 2 times in a game.

UCF has provoked an average of 8.7 penalties on opponents this season, but East Carolina is 6-1 SU when penalized at least 8 times in a game.

Nationally, the East Carolina passing attack is ranked third, while the UCF pass defense is only ranked sixth. The Knights passing game is ranked 67th, compared to the 107th-ranked pass defense of the Pirates.

The East Carolina rushing attack is ranked only 52nd in the country, while the UCF run defense is ranked ninth. The Knights run game is ranked just 106th, compared to the seventh-ranked rush defense of the Pirates.

UCF has given up 21.8 points per game on the road, which is ranked 18th in the nation. East Carolina has scored 46.4 points per contest at home (ranked seventh overall).