The Central Florida Knights (0-9, 0-5) will travel to face the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (4-4, 1-3) in a matchup in the American Athletic Conference Saturday afternoon. Tulsa has won four of the last five meetings between the schools; Central Florida took a 31-7 win as a 19.5 point favorite at home in the most recent matchup November 14, 2014.
Central Florida remained winless as they were trounced 52-7 on the road by Cincinnati last week. Tulsa snapped a two game skid by knocking off SMU 40-31 on the road last week to get back to the .500 mark. Kickoff from Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma is scheduled for 12:00 pm ET and will be televised nationally on ESPNEWS. Tulsa is currently a 17 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 64 points.
Central Florida was absolutely hammered by the Bearcats last week as their train wreck of a season continued. The Knights were down 21-0 after one quarter and 35-0 at the half; their lone score came in the fourth quarter after going down 52-0. Central Florida was dismantled in this one as they lost the total yardage battle 726-313, allowed 33 first downs while picking up 16 of their own and lost the time of possession battle 32:39 to 27:31. The Knights allowed Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel to hit all 15 of his passes for 319 yards and five scores before going to the bench.
The Knights are 100th in the nation in passing offense (188.4 yards) and dead last in the FBS in rushing offense as they muster up a weak 75.3 yards per contest. Central Florida is scoring only 14.1 points a game and they stand 107th in scoring defense by allowing an average of 35.4 points per game. Four quarterbacks have seen action for Central Florida already: Bo Schneider (54 of 102, 534 yards, 2 TD, 7 INT) started when Justin Holman (86 of 167, 860 yards, 4 TD, 9 INT) was out; Holman has reasserted the starting job for what that’s worth. Tyler Harris (24 of 49, 287 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT) and Nick Patti (3 of 5, 15 yards, 70 rushing yards, two TD, 12 catches, 94 yards, TD) are in the mix as well. The run game has been dismal as Central Florida averages 2.6 yards per carry with three scores; their longest run is 23 yards. Taj McGowan is the team’s third leading rusher with 51 carries for 132 yards while C.J. Jones has 65 carries for a team high 274 yards plus a score; Dontravious Wilson contributes 41 carries for 150 yards. Tre’Quan Smith leads the team with 34 grabs for 441 yards and two scores as a freshman while Jordan Akins chips in 14 grabs for 152 yards and two scores; Chris Johnson (14 catches, 187 yards) and Jordan Franks (13 grabs, 159 yards, TD) are in the mix as well. Matthew Wright has hit all 13 extra points and nine of 13 field goals this season.
After a wild back and forth first half that saw Tulsa fall behind 14-3 and not take the lead until the final minute of the opening 30 minutes, the Golden Hurricane played better on both sides of the ball after intermission to get the win. Tulsa outgained SMU 419-406 and took advantage of forcing two SMU turnovers while playing turnover free ball. The Golden Hurricane picked up a score on a pick six as Kerwin Thomas had a 31 yard interception return for a score. Tulsa won the time of possession battle 33:43 to 26:17 in the contest.
The Golden Hurricane is an explosive offense as they are 9th in the nation in passing offense (348.5 yards per game) and 50th in the nation (183.5 yards per game) in rushing offense. Tulsa is scoring 35.3 points a game, putting them tied for 30th in the nation in scoring offense, and is a dismal 117th in scoring defense by allowing 38.3 points per game. Dane Evans has hit 187 of 305 passes for 2,788 yards with 15 touchdowns and five picks. The ground game has gotten plenty of volume (402 carries) but not a ton of production (3.7 yards per carry); Zack Langer leads the team with 169 carries for 631 yards and 14 scores while D’Angelo Brewer contributes 86 carries for 481 yards and two scores. In the passing game, Keyarris Garrett (team high 63 receptions, team high 992 yards, 5 TD) leads the way while Joshua Atkinson (43 grabs, 699 yards, three TD) and Keevan Lucas (26 receptions, 409 yards, 5 TD) help form a trio that can rank with the best of the nation. Conner Floyd (24 catches, 218 yards) and Justin Hobbs (20 receptions, 355 yards, TD) are secondary targets as well. Redford Jones has hit 33 of 34 extra points but has struggled, hitting only 13 of 20 field goals with a long of 46 yards; he’s missed two kicks between 20 and 29 yards, two between 30 and 39 yards and is 2 of 5 from beyond 40.
Central Florida is 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games, 1-4 ATS in their last five road games, 1-6 ATS in their last seven after an ATS loss, 1-7 ATS in their last eight after a straight up loss, 1-9 ATS in their last 10 overall and 0-5 ATS in their last five on fieldturf.
Tulsa found a bit of a run game last week as they pounded the ball down SMU’s throat to get the win. Central Florida has been dismal this season and things don’t seem to be a whole lot better for them in this contest. Tulsa, playing at home, is a good team; look for Evans to light it up and the Golden Hurricane to emerge victorious.