Scores and More
CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
East Carolina (5-2) at U-C-F (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 30th, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bright House Networks Stadium (45,323) -- Orlando, Florida. Television: Bright House Sports. Home Record: ECU 4-0, UCF 3-1. Away Record: ECU 1-2, UCF 2-1. Neutral Record: ECU 0-0, UCF 0-0. Conference Record: ECU 4-0, UCF 3-0. Series Record: East Carolina leads, 8-1.
GAME NOTES: East Carolina will look to continue its dominance over UCF, when the Pirates travel to Bright House Networks Stadium to battle the Knights in a Conference-USA tussle this Saturday afternoon.
ECU has won eight of the nine meetings with UCF, including a 19-14 decision in the last showdown.
The Pirates have been one of the best teams in the conference, winning all four of their league matchups, including a convincing, 37-10 decision over Marshall. It was the third straight win for East Carolina, but both of the team's setbacks have come on the road, so this weekend Ruffin McNeill's team could be vulnerable.
UCF, which is also undefeated in league play at 3-0, comes into this meeting with the Pirates riding high on a three-game winning streak. The most recent win was a commanding, 41-14 decision over Rice, which pushed the Knights home ledger to 3-1 on the year.
The Pirates had little trouble defeating Marshall this past weekend, as the Pirates used an impressive mix of run and pass, to cruise to the 27-point victory.
ECU put forth a tremendous effort on the ground, rushing for 194 yards and two touchdowns, as Jon Williams led the way with 111 yards and one score. Williams has been the best option out of the backfield for East Carolina, rumbling for 473 yards and six touchdowns, while the team as a whole is producing a mediocre 119.6 ppg.
On top of the success gained on the ground against Marshall, the Pirates also enjoyed solid production from quarterback Dominique Davis, who threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns. Throughout the season Davis has been a consistent leader under center for coach McNeill and heads into this weekend with 2,023 passing yards. The veteran signal caller has thrown 18 touchdowns and has also completed a respectable 63.6 percent of his attempts.
Lance Lewis hauled in one of the touchdown passes in the win, giving him a team-high seven on the year, but the main option for Davis has been Dwayne Harris, who is currently leading the team with 54 receptions and 604 yards.
What helped the Pirates cruise to an easy win was the surprising play of the defense, which held Marshall to just 10 points on 328 total yards. ECU forced four turnovers in the game, giving the team eight on the season and 14 takeaways overall.
The biggest shock for coach McNeill was the play of the front line, which limited Marshall to just 94 rushing yards. This has been an area of concern throughout the season for East Carolina, which is allowed 172.6 rushing ypg coming into this weekend.
The defense has also showed signs of weakness against the pass, as opponents are lighting up the skies for 269.1 yards per matchup. However, the team's inability to stop the pass might have plenty to do with the lack of pressure from the frontline, as ECU has only 13 sacks to date.
The Knights go into every game with the same agenda and that is to punish the opposing defense with their ground game. So far, that gameplan has worked to the tune of 190.6 rushing ypg and out of the 24 touchdowns scored by this offense, 19 have come via the run.
Ronnie Weaver has been an impressive option out of the backfield for UCF, as the junior is currently pacing the team with 458 yards and eight touchdowns. A big bonus however, has been quarterback Jeff Godfrey, who has been a dangerous weapon with his legs, racking up 351 yards and five scores.
This past weekend against Rice, the ground game for UCF was surprisingly kept under wraps for the most part. The Knights finished with just 122 yards on 3.0 yards per attempt, but also found the end zone four times via the run. Three of those scores came from Weaver, who rumbled for 53 yards. Godfrey added 41 yards and one score, but also threw for 178 yards and another touchdown. It was just the second touchdown pass on the year for the signal caller, who has also thrown four interceptions.
The Knights have the recipe for success in 2010 and that is a combination of running the ball with authority and playing tenacious defense. Clearly has stated earlier the Knights possess a dangerous rushing attack, but does the defense rack up with some of the best in the country?
Considering this unit has allowed only 12 total touchdowns in seven games, and has held the opposition to just 13.9 ppg behind 259.7 total ypg, one would believe so. This defense has performed well across the board, but the one area UCF has really improved compared to last season is defending the pass.
Last year, UCF was torched for over 300 yards per matchup, but so far this season the Knights are limiting opposing quarterbacks to just 158.3 ypg and have surrendered only seven touchdowns, while grabbing six interceptions.
The team had similar success in its 27-point victory over Rice, as the defense held the Owls to only 141 yards through the air. Overall, UCF shut down its conference foes, giving up just 229 total yards and only 12 first downs.
Clearly both teams have no trouble finding the end zone, but there is one glaring difference between the two squads and that is on the defensive side of the football. UCF is better than East Carolina in every aspect defensively, and with home field advantage the Knights should have no trouble remaining flawless in conference play.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UCF 38, East Carolina 24
10/27 10:40:20 ET