After his career game last week, UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee’s eagerness for this one must have soared all week as he reviewed figures detailing the ECU defense.
Especially that secondary, which has been dreadful. And, yes, it’s performed way more poorly than Temple’s—and a national TV audience last Thursday night saw Plumlee dissect the Owls as if he were the top surgeon in his graduating class.
Once again, a somewhat-national TV audience, on ESPNU, will get to watch Plumlee operate.
Here’s a look at UCF vs. East Carolina betting odds and a pick in Week 8 of the NCAAF season.
UCF vs. East Carolina Betting Line: Point Spread, Total, Moneyline
Here are live odds from around the betting market for UCF vs. East Carolina.
NCAAF · Sat (10/22) @ 7:30pm ET
|Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, North Carolina|
UCF Golden Knights (5-1, 4-2 ATS)
For Plumlee, last week had to feel like a video game. He completed 18 of 22 passes for 373 yards, a cartoonish 16.95 yards per attempt. Four went for touchdowns.
He wasn’t through, however, as the 6-foot, 200-pound junior ran seven times for 37 yards, and three touchdowns. As a rookie at Ole Miss, he showed he was a massive dual threat when he gained more yards on the ground (1,023) than he did through the air (910). He had four TDs and three interceptions, but he ran it into the end zone 12 times.
It didn’t work out, but he landed in a fine spot in Orlando with what Phil Steele regarded, in his preseason annual, as top-25 national running-back and wide-receiver units.
Ex-Northwestern tailback Isaiah Bowser has bounced it into the end zone nine times. Javon Baker (16.1-yard average, two TDs) and Ryan O’Keefe (28 catches for 364 yards, four TDs) are the main threats.
Kobe Hudson’s 24.9-yard average would be second in the nation, to UAB’s Trea Shropshire’s 25.9, but the former Auburn athlete has only seven receptions. Tight ends Kemore Gamble (a onetime Gator) and Alec Holler also have triple-digit receiving yardage, as does Bowser.
This is only UCF’s second road game, but in its first road trip Plumlee led the Knights to a 40-14 triumph, throwing for 339 yards and a TD, and running it in for two scores, at Florida Atlantic.
Plumlee is primed for this one on the highway. In the past five between these two, UCF is 5-0, with an average victory margin of 48-23. Last time in Greenville, in 2020, the Knights won, 51-28.
Bet CFB at BetMGM: Use promo code TODAY for up to $1,000 risk-free bet
East Carolina Pirates (4-3, 4-3 ATS)
Onto the dissection.
Temple was 75th in the country at allowing opponents 7.5 yards per pass attempt, but it was a respectable 44th in yielding 219 passing yards per game.
ECU is 125th in the former (9.5 yards per attempt), meaning only six programs are more of a sieve in passing defense. It is 104th in the latter, letting the enemy average 275 yards a game through the air.
Memphis chewed up this secondary for 407 yards a week ago and somehow lost, 47-45. Memphis and the Pirates, however, were a combustible pairing—both yield about 0.404 points per play (PPP), right around 73rd in the game.
UCF is superb on that side of the ball, as its allowance of 0.211 PPP is No. 6 in the country, trailing only No. 1 Iowa, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan and Minnesota.
Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers has accumulated 2,124 yards through the air. That’s ninth best in FBS. He’s thrown for 17 TDs (with four picks), run it in twice and even caught a pass for a score.
He’s a cool story, having improved steadily over five seasons. He has more than 10,000 career passing yards at ECU, with 86 TDs and 37 interceptions.
Receivers Isaiah Winstead (formerly of Toledo) and CJ Johnson, who played at Georgia, combine for nine TDs and an average of nearly 16 yards a catch. Keaton Mitchell and Rahjai Harris are a solid 1-2 running attack.
Unfortunately, UCF’s superior defense—and ECU’s horrible secondary, worsening by the week—will undo the Pirates under their own lights.
Sports Betting Recommendation
On last week’s national telecast, broadcasters noted how second-year UCF boss Gus Malzahn is so much more at ease in Orlando than he was at Auburn. It showed a year ago, when the Knights went 9-4, beating Florida in a bowl.
In addition, he’s 16-9-1 as an away favorite in his career. In days of yore, ECU battled as a home dog. Not now, not under Mike Houston (whose four-year record here is sub-.500), and not against this opponent with that defense and that lethal quarterback.