Featured Video from Scott Reichel
AAC action here as the Central Florida Knights will travel to take on the East Carolina Pirates. The two team’s couldn’t be in more opposite places, as UCF continues their lengthy unbeaten streak while ECU is still in the midst of their rebuild. There’s not really a question of who will win this game, simply by how much will UCF win it.
UCF Just Can’t Lose
Just when it looked like UCF was finally going to lose a game, they came storming all the way back to crush Memphis’ upset bid. UCF trailed for nearly the entire game, but ended up sneaking away with a one point win. The Knights haven’t lost a game since 2016, and haven’t shown anything to make me think that streak will end anytime soon.
Scott Frost left the team after their miracle 2017 to take the job at Nebraska, but the team never missed a beat and has continued to progress. They haven’t looked quite as dominant as they did last year, but they lost a lot of talent from last year’s team.
UCF has scored at least 30 points in every game, and loves to air the ball out. Their quarterback, junior McKenzie Milton, has thrown for 16 touchdowns and just four interceptions, averaging right around nine yards per attempt. Milton was so good in the comeback win over Memphis that he earned the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week award. The rushing attack has been nearly as successful, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and scoring 20 touchdowns.
Commence McKenzie Milton is awesome thread: pic.twitter.com/2fi3BZSSKV
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) September 4, 2018
There’s simply no way East Carolina’s defense will slow down this UCF offense, so the only way this isn’t a bloodbath is if UCF’s defense collapses. UCF hasn’t been great defensively, but they’ve smothered bad teams in the past. They gave up only 14 points to Pitt recently, and it wouldn’t surprise me if ECU ends up scoring somewhere in that range.
East Carolina In Rebuild
It seems like forever since East Carolina was last relevant, and they’ve been on a long rebuild. The 2018 season has been filled with ups and downs and inconsistency, but has still been better than the disastrous 2017 season. ECU went 3-9 in back-to-back years in 2016-17, and finally appears to be making some progress.
They did lose to North Carolina AT&T, an FCS school, but rebounded by beating the UNC Tar Heels by 22, their first win over a Power 5 opponent in over two years. They’ve since stumbled again, losing by 43 to Temple and 22 to Houston. Their defense hasn’t been able to stop anybody all year, and if they want even the tiniest chance at pulling off a historic upset, they’ll likely need to score 40+ here.
Their starting quarterback Reid Herring has been mostly awful, with more interceptions than touchdowns and a completion percentage of just 55.4. The ground game hasn’t been much better, with the team averaging only 3.3 yards per rush attempt. Making matters worse, the Pirates are looking like they could be without a pair of offensive lineman, a blow they simply can’t afford right now. While ECU finally appears to be on the right track, I don’t expect it to look like it here.
- 8-22-1 ATS in their last 31 games following an ATS loss
- 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games in October
- 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game
- 17-5-1 ATS in their last 23 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
UCF likes to run up the score, and I see no reason why they won’t do that here. The talent disparity will simply be too wide for East Carolina to keep this one close, and this one should be just about over by halftime. In addition to being much worse, ECU just happens to be much more injured. Everything is shaping up for a massive UCF victory.
Prediction: UCF -21
Full-Game Total Pick
This has all the makings of a shootout and there should be no shortage of points here. Just about every UCF game is extremely high scoring, and that won’t stop here. ECU knows that if they want to have any shot at winning this game, they’ll need to put up points in a hurry, so expect to see them chucking the ball early on. Once UCF gets up big, they’ll be forced to play catchup, and these teams will start lighting up the scoreboard.