My key to the East Carolina - UCF game is simple. Score points on one
of the worst defensive teams in the entire country.
Central Florida heads into the game ranked 114th out of 119 teams in
the nation in total defense giving up 429 yards a game and George
O'Leary's defensive woes will continue against East Carolina because
the Golden Knights will be without their best defensive player Joe
Burnett. The sophomore cornerback leads the team in tackles and
interceptions and was named a freshman All-American last year. He is
officially listed as doubtful for this game and that would be a huge
blow for an already depleted defense that desperately needs secondary
players to help out a struggling defensive line that lost three key
players to graduation.
As for Central Florida's offense, they're inconsistent but you have to
respect their running game behind running back Kevin Smith who's
averaging 113 yards a game. And of course the Pirates remember
All-Conference USA wide receiver Mike Walker who caught two fourth
quarter touchdowns last year in a 30-20 victory over East Carolina in
Greenville. The good news this year is that the Pirate defense is
playing lights out as of late and I think the Golden Knights offense
will struggle to put points on the board.
My prediction... East Carolina comes away from the Citrus Bowl in
Orlando one win away from becoming bowl eligible with a 35-14 victory
over Central Florida.