Week 6 American: UCF at Houston

    UCF (1-2) at Houston (2-2) Oct. 2, 7:00, ESPN Here’s The Deal: Conference play begins in earnest on Thursday night, and not a moment too soon. The

    October 2, 2014

    UCF (1-2) at Houston (2-2) Oct. 2, 7:00, ESPN 

    Here’s The Deal: Conference play begins in earnest on Thursday night, and not a moment too soon. The American lost all six non-conference games last week, so it’s ready to begin playing one another instead. With everyone seemingly chasing East Carolina at this point, UCF and Houston are looking for fast league starts after stumbling out of the gate in September. The Knights have only defeated Bethune-Cookman, while the Cougars have beaten Grambling and UNLV. 
    Why UCF Might Win: If the Knights are going to bounce back from a slow start, they’ll need to do so on defense. The unit is athletic at every level, flying to the ball with LB Terrance Plummer and a seasoned secondary. Houston has been the epitome of an up-and-down team, especially at quarterback. John O’Korn and the Cougs rank 114th nationally in passing efficiency, which will play right into the hands of DBs Jacoby Glenn, Clayton Geathers and Brandon Alexander. 
    Why Houston Might Win: UCF’s weakest defensive link is up front. The Cougars want to exploit it by running Ryan Jackson, Kenneth Farrow and Javin Webb, who fueled a 399-yard ground outburst in the win over UNLV two weeks ago. On defense, Houston has played well so far this year, creating turnovers and pressure. That D will present problems for a UCF offense that ranks 117th nationally in total yards and 120th in third-down conversions. 
    Who To Watch Out For: For the Knights to get out of an offensive funk, young QB Justin Holman must make plays through the air. It won’t be easy. Sure, his receiving corps is among the best in the league, but Houston will apply pressure, and DBs Trevon Stewart and Adrian McDonald excel at jumping routes. 
    What’s Going To Happen: Someone is about to get a boost to a season that’s started slowly. That someone is Houston. The Cougars have found the right formula on offense, leaning on the backs, while reducing O’Korn’s role. A conservative offensive approach, coupled with an aggressive D, will carry Houston to an important league win. 
    Prediction: Houston 28 … UCF 20 
    Line: Houston -3 o/u: 50 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Gone Girl – 1: Mulaney … 2

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