N.C. State (7-5) vs. Central Florida (9-3), St. Petersburg Bowl
Friday, 8 p.m. Eastern on ESPN
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Central Florida (-2). Line provided by bovada.lv
Series tied 1-1
Last Year’s St. Petersburg Bowl (Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl):
East Carolina 37, Ohio 20, Dec. 23, 2013
After starting the season 0-2, UCF (9-3) has reeled off 9 wins in the past 10. The high point: this game-winning Hail Mary vs. East Carolina. The low point: an inexplicable loss to American Athletic Conference bottom-feeder UConn. N.C. State (7-5) was not impressive in ACC play, finishing 3-5, but did win the final 2 games to end on a positive note.
Jacoby Brissett has thrown for 22 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions as the Wolfpack rack up nearly 30 points per game. And N.C. State likes to pound the ball, running for 206 per game, including 388 and 362 yards in the past 2 games, respectively. And that’s where this game should get interesting.
UCF brings the No. 5 rush defense in the country into the game at 97.4 yards per contest, which includes 19 allowed in the past 2 games. Nineteen. Total. Then there is UCF’s pass D – No. 12 in the FBS at 185.4 ypg and anchored by Jacoby Glenn’s 7 interceptions (tied for 3rd in the FBS) and 18 passes defensed. Oh, and the Knights allow just 17.9 ppg, 8th in the nation.
N.C. State has found a new identity: run until they stop you. UCF has been doing just that to opposing running games. Something’s gotta give. Here’s where it’s gonna give: The Wolfpack just shredded Wake Forest and North Carolina, 2 of the worst run defenses in all the land. UCF limits the ground game and quarterback Justin Holman does just enough to get UCF its 10th win.