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Preseason conference favorite Central Florida opens its final season in Conference USA play by hosting East Carolina on Thursday in Orlando. The Knights are 14.5-point favorites on Bovada.lv
UCF enters off a 21-16 home loss to Missouri. UCF trailed 21-10 before a late score, but following a Tigers punt, Knights receiver Jeff Godfrey fumbled with 2:26 left to allow Missouri to hang on for the win. UCF (2-2) controlled most of the game, using five sacks and a huge advantage in time of possession to take an early lead. Knights quarterback Blake Bortles kept his team in the game, connecting on 29 of his 43 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns.
East Carolina beat UTEP 28-18 in C-USA action. East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden ran for two touchdowns and threw for a score to overcome three interceptions. Carden, who was 28 of 40 for 258 yards, ran for a 6-yard score in the first quarter and threw a 3-yard scoring pass to Justin Hardy that gave the Pirates (3-2, 2-0 Conference USA) their first lead of the game at 14-10 going into halftime. Carden is completing 60.9 percent of his passes this year, while Rio Johnson is 46-for-72 in 2012. The duo both have four interceptions.
In 2011 at ECU, the game was tied 17-17 at halftime and 31-31 late in the fourth, but the Pirates’ Torrance Hunt had a 56-yard run with 2:10 left for a 38-31 win to take a 9-2 lead in the series.
This will be the second Thursday game of the year as UCF opened 2012 with a 56-14 victory at Akron Aug. 30. The Knights are 3-3 all-time on Thursdays. Six of the last eight meetings between the Knights and the Pirates have produced at least four-combined turnovers. The Knights have a 4-3 record in C-USA openers, including posting victories in their last two.
The Black and Gold ranks third in the country by averaging only 3.5 penalties per game in 2012. Its opponent this week, East Carolina, stands at fifth with a 3.8 average. The national leader is Kansas State (2.0).
WagerWeb.com trends: Pirates are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win. Pirates are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game. Pirates are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. win. Knights are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games following a S.U. loss. Knights are 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games following a ATS loss. Knights are 17-8 ATS in their last 25 conference games. Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings. Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.