coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 11/18/2013 04:29 PM in NCAA Football

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Central Florida Golden Knights: Preview and Pick

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Central Florida Golden Knights: Preview and Pick

The Central Florida Golden Knights are on their way to what could be a historic season. With a miraculous come from behind win against the lowly Temple Owls, the Knight kept on pace for a great season. Now they will host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a Thursday night college football showcase that will be on national television. This will give the Golden Knights a chance to show the world that they are for real.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Central Florida Golden Knights Odds

The college football odds for this game favor Central Florida as they opened up as a double digit favorite. This line has increased as it opened at (-14) and it can now be found at (-17) as the public is hammering Central Florida in the early betting opportunities. Perhaps it is due to the fact that Rutgers was destroyed by Cincinnati, but over 85 percent of the public is fading the Scarlet Knights here.

The Knights needed yet another big win to avoid a loss that would derail their season.

Shawn Moffitt kicked a 23-yard field goal as time expired after Rannell Hall got behind the Temple defense for a 64-yard reception, and the 17th-ranked Knights survived a scare with a 39-36 victory Saturday. For the fourth time this season, UCF trailed in the second half and won. UCF's last possession started at its own 19, with no timeouts. Overtime seemed likely until Blake Bortles found Hall deep to get to the Temple 6. It was all UCF from there as they won again.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Central Florida Golden Knights Trends

The latest college football betting trends also favor Central Florida in this game. The Scarlet Knights are 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in their last 6 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a loss and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game. The Knights are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game, 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game and 35-16-1 ATS in their last 52 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Central Florida Golden Knights Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/19/2013 01:35 PM

The short week may have left Rutgers coach Kyle Flood less time to prepare for the challenge of facing 17th-ranked UCF on Thursday night, but it does have an advantage to it as well.

It puts the immediate focus on the 8-1 Knights, the AAC leader at 5-0, with almost no time left fof Rutgers players to dwell on last Saturday's dreary 52-17 home loss to Cincinnati.

"In a regular game week it's one of the reasons -- whether the outcome is what you want or not -- that we practice on Sundays," Flood said following practice today. "Some teams take off on Sundays (following Saturday games).

"I know my predecessor (Greg Schiano) felt this way. I've always felt this way. It's always good to get back out there and practice the next day and get moving onto the future, because you certainly have to acknowledge where your weaknesses were, where your mistakes were, but then to dwell on it does not help you with what you have to do in the upcoming week."

Rutgers, despite 35-point home losses in two of the past three games, needs one more victory in its final three games to become bowl eligible for the eighth time in nine years.

On the personnel front for the game, Flood said that Paul James will start at running back, although Savon Huggins and, possibly, Justin Goodwin would get carries as well. He also said that Taj Alexander will start at right tackle, with Andre Civil seeing time there -- similar to what happened against Cincinnati.

In addition, he confirmed that converted wide receiver Ruhann Peele will start at one corner, with Gareef Glashen, Nadir Barnwell or Anthony Cioffi the candidates to start at the other corner. All three will play in sub packages whether or not they start, he said.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/20/2013 07:55 PM

Quarterback Gary Nova compared it to cramming for a test. With just four days off between Saturday's 52-17 loss to Cincinnati and Thursday's game at No. 17 Central Florida, Nova has shifted his preparation into overdrive.

Typically, Nova starts watching film on the next opponent on Sunday night. The Scarlet Knights don't practice on Mondays during a standard week, so that's the day Nova does most of his film work and goes over the game plan with offensive coordinator Ron Prince.

But this week, Nova has pressed fast-forward on his preparation schedule.

"I started watching (UCF) Saturday after the Cincy game, came back later that night and watched some film," Nova said. "(Sunday) night watched a little bit of them and (Monday) will probably be a big day where we'll watch a majority of film and obviously (Tuesday) and Wednesday. It's almost like you're cramming for a test. You've got to have a nice plan on when you're going to watch film and what you're going to watch on certain days."

For the coaching staff, the preparation for Central Florida began before the team's previous game against Cincinnati thanks to a late-season bye. With two weeks between their Nov. 2 matchup with Temple and the Cincinnati game, the staff got a jump on advance scouting.

"When you get to this part of the season you have a lot of game film and you break down every game, but you don't necessarily use every game in your percentage breakdowns that you use to do your game plan," Flood said. "You try to find offenses and defenses that are similar to you. We were able to get a lot of that work done ahead of time and that helped us be a little bit more prepared (Sunday), so we didn't have to reduce our install."

The condensed time for mental preparation is a challenge, but the physical toll of playing two games in such a short span is greater.

"Usually during a game week we have a Monday off to rest and get our bodies feeling better, but now we had practice (Sunday) night, practice (Monday) morning, so I'm sure guys' legs are feeling tired and things like that," Nova said. "We have three days to take care of that, but it's definitely more stress on the body."

As much as Flood has to make sure his players grasp the game plan for Thursday night, he understands that knowledge is useless if they're bodies aren't ready to perform. With that in mind, the physicality in practice was dialed back this week.

"I think this time of year, guys are all a little bit dinged up," Flood said. "I think that's just the reality of football. When you play on these short weeks, it's our job as a coaching staff that we get our players to Thursday night feeling as good as they would feel on a Saturday afternoon."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/20/2013 07:57 PM

If this season ends the way UCF's team and fans hope, they'll be pointing to the spectacular catch by J.J. Worton as a pivotal moment.

Make no mistake, even if UCF was 1-8 at this juncture in the season and not 8-1 as it actually stands, Worton's improbable, spectacular diving one-handed grab in the end zone in last week's game against Temple probably would be in the running for an ESPY next summer. It proved especially significant because it kept the Knights on course to achieve their goals.

Specifically, UCF remains the only undefeated team in the American Athletic Conference standings after its dramatic come-from-behind 39-36 win over Temple.

The close call against Temple does create some cause for concern. UCF did drop from 15th to 17th in the major polls, increasing the chance that the Knights might end up getting supplanted by both Cincinnati and Louisville if UCF stumbles in one of its final three games against Rutgers, SMU or USF.

For now, the focus has to remain on Rutgers in what was considered one of a few true "toss-up" games for UCF heading into the season. The Knights have won two of those type of games, besting Penn State and Louisville, and lost the other one at the hands of South Carolina. All those games have been close, but UCF has thrived in nail-biters, posting a 5-1 record thus far in 2013 in games decided by seven points or less. Even the one defeat at the hands of South Carolina was decided by only a field goal.

It's a major contrast from the 2011 UCF squad, which entered the season with high expectations and anointed to run away with the Conference USA crown, only to lose six games decided by seven or fewer points en route to staying home for bowl season.

Instead, winning close games has UCF enjoying an 8-1 record for the first time in team history. If the Knights can continue to take care of business, they'll tie the 2010 team for the most wins ever recorded by a UCF team (11). They'll also be rewarded by becoming the first AAC football champions and earning a BCS bowl bid.

Entering the home stretch of the 2013 season, the only Football Bowl Subdivision program in the Sunshine State with more to play for is Florida State, which remains on track for a berth in the BCS championship game.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/21/2013 10:27 AM

While he's certainly pleased with his team's results, UCF coach George O'Leary would like to see a more complete performance. He probably would also like to endure a little less stress.

After their latest thrilling comeback, the 17th-ranked Knights will try to remain atop the American Athletic Conference and keep their BCS bowl hopes alive when they host Rutgers on Thursday night.

UCF appeared that it might suffer a damaging loss at the AAC's last-place team, Temple, on Saturday until pulling out a 39-36 victory.

With the Knights trailing by seven, J.J. Worton made a diving, one-handed catch in the end zone with 1:06 to go. On the ensuing possession, Rannell Hall's 64-yard reception in the final seconds set up Shawn Moffitt's 23-yard field goal as time expired.

"It was a good win in a tough situation. When we had the opportunity to make plays, we made them. That was the difference in the game," O'Leary said.

UCF's fourth second-half comeback of the season boosted it to 8-1 for the first time in school history. It also moved the Knights to 5-0 in the conference with Louisville and Cincinnati still on their tail at 5-1.

UCF had its only 6-0 league start last season when it was a member of Conference USA.

"We've got to play better than that if we're going to continue to win," O'Leary said. "We've just got to play a team game. Offense and defense have to complement each other. That didn't happen.

"We were very fortunate to come out with a win. We looked like we were out of sync on defense. We weren't making plays, and you can't do that. We've got to get that fixed before Thursday."

The offense doesn't appear to need too much fixing after gaining a season-high 657 yards against Temple. Blake Bortles passed for a career-best 404 and four touchdowns.

Worton caught three of those TDs while finishing with 179 yards on 10 receptions, and Hall had nine catches for 159 yards. Storm Johnson has back-to-back games of 100 or more rushing yards for the first time after gaining 122 on 14 carries.

UCF is hoping to get one of its other top receivers back for this game. Breshad Perriman, who has 567 yards, was forced to sit out Saturday after getting injured in a 19-14 win over Houston on Nov. 9 on a hit that drew a targeting penalty.

The Knights, who gave up a season-high 518 yards to Temple, might also get defensive back Jacoby Glenn (ankle) and defensive end Miles Pace (appendectomy) on the field again.

"Hopefully we get a couple of the starters back that didn't play against Temple," O'Leary said. "We've got to put a lot of work in two days of practice. We've got to be resilient and move on."

Rutgers (5-4, 2-3) will try to wreck UCF's dreams of a conference title while winning for just the second time in five games. The Scarlet Knights earned their most recent victory Nov. 2 against Temple with Gary Nova's 33-yard pass to Leonte Carroo with 35 seconds left providing the 23-20 margin.

Rutgers, though, was little match for Cincinnati in a 52-17 loss Saturday. The Scarlet Knights were outgained 619-357 and Nova had 170 yards after passing for a season-high 371 against Temple.

Rutgers has given up more than 600 yards in two of its last three games but still has a chance to become bowl eligible for the eighth time in nine seasons. The Scarlet Knights, however, are also dealing with some turmoil.

Freshman defensive back Jevon Tyree left the team last week after accusing defensive coordinator Dave Cohen of verbal abuse and a physical threat during a study hall session in the spring. The school said in a statement that Cohen was reprimanded by coach Kyle Flood and has apologized.

Rutgers, though, denied there was a physical threat from Cohen, who remains on staff. The school fired men's basketball coach Mike Rice in April after a video surfaced of him abusing players, and athletic director Julie Hermann faced allegations after she was hired in May that she also abused players when she was a women's volleyball coach at Tennessee.

Flood said he didn't think the current allegations are affecting his team.

"I have seen nothing but a spirited football team with a lot of energy that's getting ready to play an excellent football team in UCF," he said. "I think the players and the coaches are focused."

Rutgers won 45-24 in its only other matchup with UCF at the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl.