Will the UCF Knights Defense Slow Down an Explosive East Carolina Pirates Offense?
The UCF Knights have a unique challenge against East Carolina Pirates in Greensboro. This is a veteran offense with explosive skill-position talent. The Knights’ performance against the well-rounded Pirates offense will determine if UCF can continue its winning streak of four games.
Here are some statistics about East Carolina’s offense. You can also find more information about the players below.
East Carolina’s Offense, by the Numbers
Scoring Offense: 33.1 points per game, No. 45.
Total Offense: 474.7 yards per game, No. 21.
Rushing Offense: 165.7 yards per game, No. 57.
Passing Offense: 309 yards per game, No. 18.
Sacks Allowed: 10 total, 1.4 per game, No. 42.
20-Plus Yard Plays, 43 total, 13 rushing, 30 passing, No. 8.
Third Down Conversions: 54 of 107, completing 50.5% of third downs, No. 13.
Red Zone: Complete 84.4% for scores, No. 58.
With quarterback Holton Ahlers back for his fifth-year senior season, it’s not surprising that the passing attack is one of the nation’s best. 309 yards per game is a major threat to UCF’s defense, which allows 212.7 yards passing per game, good for No. 44 in the land. This is going to be a fascinating battle. The Pirates are making big passing plays. 30 plays of 20 or more is truly impressive. UCF is known for its propensity to give up passing yards when an opponent reaches red zone. However, it cannot allow Ahlers or East Carolina to play huge chunks of yardage. It is crucial to understand how this situation plays out, and what the red zone situation will look like. It’s one thing to pass the football down the field, but it’s quite another to pass the football inside the 20 where the area is restricted and the defense holds an advantage.
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Pay particular attention to how UCF’s No. 1 ranked red zone defense does against East Carolina. The Knights only allow 52.4% of the opponent’s trips inside the red zone to result in either a field goal conversion or touchdown.
An even a missed field goal by the Pirates could make the difference between winning or losing. It’s also likely that the SI odds of the Knights winning are just five. East Carolina is one the few teams that will challenge UCF for the entire game.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.