ARTICLE OF THE DAY
 
ECU/UCF Keys to the Game
by Billy Weaver
11/3/06

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.
 
Billy Weaver
billy.weaver@witntv.com