Game to be played at Tropicana Field, St. Petersberg, Florida
1. When we last saw UCF, the Knights were storming the field following a Hail Mary catch by Breshad Perriman to defeat East Carolina and claim a share of the American Athletic Conference title. The dramatic win helped UCF earn a berth in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl against North Carolina State, which won three of its last four games. The teams have split their two previous meetings, with North Carolina State recording a 28-21 victory in 2010.
2. While UCF is seeking its fourth consecutive bowl victory, North Carolina State is returning to the postseason after going 3-9 in 2013. The Knights boast one of the nation’s top defenses, led by linebacker Terrance Plummer and cornerback Jacoby Glenn, who is tied for third in the country with seven interceptions. Plummer has a team-high 92 tackles for UCF, which allows 17.9 points per game – ninth in the nation.
3. UCF’s stout defense should be tested by a North Carolina State offense that outscored its final two opponents – Wake Forest and North Carolina – by a combined 77-20. The Knights boast the nation’s fifth-best rushing defense, but the Wolfpack rushed for 388 yards in a 35-7 victory over North Carolina to end the regular season. Shadrach Thornton led the way with 28 carries for 161 yards.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The spread has seen a slight move from opening, where UCF was favored by 1.5-points compared to the current -2. The total has dropped 0.5 points since opening from 50 to 49.5.
INJURY REPORT: North Carolina – N/A UCF – RB Dontravious Wilson (Ques-Shoulder)
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA STATE (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS, 5-6-1 O/U): After jumping to a 24-7 first-quarter lead over Florida State on Sept. 27, the Wolfpack ended up falling 56-41 and losing their next three games. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett owns a 22-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has run for 498 yards and three scores. Mike Rose has 14 tackles-for-loss to lead the defense, which allowed an average of 15.9 points in its seven victories.
ABOUT UCF (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS, 6-6 O/U): The Knights opened with losses to Penn State and Missouri before winning five in a row, including a 31-24 overtime victory over BYU. While the defense has been a strength all season, the offense struggled early before averaging 33 points during a four-game winning streak to close the regular season. Quarterback Justin Holman has thrown 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while Perriman has caught a TD pass in seven straight games.
*Wolfpack are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 bowl games.
*Knights are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.
*Under is 4-1 in Wolfpack last 5 games following a SU win of more than 20 points.
*Over is 4-1 in Knights last 5 games following a S.U. win.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 62.23 percent of Covers users are backing UCF -2, with the total slightly leaning towards the under (50.6).