College Football Picks: Central Florida at Marshall Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 10/12/2010
Central Florida Knights at Marshall Thundering Herd (+5.5, 44.5)
It’s the second straight Wednesday of Conference USA action featuring UCF – this time the Knights are on the road as they look for their eighth C-USA victory in a row.
Central Florida at Marshall Betting Odds and Line Movement
The side has dropped a point from its opening of 6.5 at most books while the total has dropped a half-point at most books. Approximately 60 percent of the lean is on Central Florida. The Knights are 4-1 ATS this season while Marshall is 1-4, with the lone cover coming against West Virginia.
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UCF leads all-time, 5-3, and has won the past five. Last year in Orlando the Knights won, 21-20, scoring twice in the final eight minutes to overcome a 20-7 deficit.
This year’s Knights enter off an impressive 42-7 win over UAB. Sophomore safety Kemal Ishmael was a one-man wrecking crew for UCF and was named C-USA Defensive Player of the Week. He made seven tackles, an interception and forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown to lead a dominant UCF defense. That unit is ranked second nationally in passing efficiency, fifth in pass defense, eighth in scoring defense and ninth in total defense.
And remember that UCF has played N.C. State and Kansas State and could have won both games. Only UCF and Cal have defenses ranked in the Top 10 in all four of those categories. The Knights have allowed opponents just eight trips to the red zone in five games, only topped nationally by TCU’s seven in six games.
Marshall enters off a disappointing effort, a 41-16 loss at Southern Miss on Oct. 2. The Herd offense was inept with just 180 total yards. On the positive side, Marshall defensive end Vinny Curry had two more sacks to give him eight in five games. He ranks No. 1 in the FBS in sacks, No. 2 in tackles for loss with 11.5 and No. 16 with 50 total tackles. Curry also has two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries.
This is a home game so it should mean a good night for Marshall QB Brian Anderson. Overall, he has completed 85 of 147 passes for 880 yards and eight touchdowns against five interceptions. In two home games he is 41-of-59 for 524 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. But the Herd are second-to-last in C-USA in rushing and 105th in the nation (101 yards per game). They managed just 52 yards against Southern Miss.
“We have to become a more balanced offense,” first-year head coach Doc Holliday said to reporters. “It comes down to blocking and we've got to do a better job of doing that.”
The Knights, meanwhile, are very good on the ground but not so much in the air. The team rotates QBs, with freshman Jeffrey Godfrey getting most of the time, but Rob Calabrese often coming in on a Wildcat-type formation. Last week Godfrey rushed for 80 yards (he leads the team in rushing on the season) while Calabrese rushed for 40 yards. It was the first time in UCF history that two quarterbacks finished with 40 rushing yards or more in the same game. The Knights have four players overall with at least 100 yards rushing. Both QBs are completing better than 64 percent of their passes but UCF is 100th in the nation in passing yards per game (169.4).
This and That
UCF coach George O’Leary said backup kicker Jamie Boyle will likely handle field goals at Marshall as starter Nick Cattoi has struggled this season. Cattoi has hit 4-of-8 field goals during this campaign. He has missed all three attempts from 40-49 yards, including a 44-yard attempt against UAB.
Marshall is 6-2 all-time playing on Wednesday nights. The Herd are 121-20 overall at Joan C. Edwards Stadium for a winning percentage of .858. That’s the best in Division I for any team in its current stadium.
Central Florida at Marshall College Football Picks
UCF’s defense limited N.C. State and Kansas State to a combined 511 total yards so it’s hard to imagine how a one-dimensional Marshall team can move the ball – the Herd have only seen the red zone 11 times this year. Take the Knights and the ‘under’.
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