The University of Central Florida has started their season 2-0 for the fifth straight season. Meanwhile, Louisville was able to bounce back for a win 30-3 win last week against Eastern Kentucky after getting destroyed by Ole Miss in Week one on national television.
This game will also be nationally televised Friday night at 7:30 ET from Louisville on ESPN.
UCF Keys to Success
Offensively, Lefty quarterback Dillon Gabriel ranks 11th nationally in passing yards per game and is the focal point of the team. Gabriel lost nearly his entire backfield, but Northwestern transfer Isaiah Bowser has stepped right in to produce. Bowser had 172 rushing yards in their comeback win versus Boise State to open the season and followed it up strongly last week when he scored four touchdowns in a 63-14 victory over FCS Bethune-Cookman.
After the departure of Marlon Williams from the receiving core, Jaylon Robinson has proved he is one of the best players in the AAC.
Defensively is where UCF is questionable. They have yet to record a sack on the season thus far, one of seven teams in that category. However, they take the ball away at a great rate, but that hasn’t been present this season so far, with only two takeaways in two games.
Louisville Keys to Success
While the Louisville offense was shut down for most of the first half of their game versus Ole Miss, they sure have shown up since then.
They have scored 54 points in the last 6 quarters, and that is behind QB Malik Cunningham. He is a big-time playmaker through the air and especially on the feet, with four of his six touchdowns being on the ground.
At the receiver, freshman Ahmari Huggins-Bruce has emerged as a key cog in this offense. Huggins-Bruce has 169 yards, including a long of 93 yards, on just six catches for the season.
Defensively, Louisville got hammered by Ole Miss in the opener but bounced back against a weaker opponent in Eastern Kentucky. This week will once again be another test.
Linebacker C.J. Avery is the leader of the Cardinals and is second on the team with his 13 tackles behind only Georgia Southern transfer Kenderick Duncan Jr.
The Cardinals defense has been a real issue for years now, and realistically, they would need to keep this potent UCF offense to 30 points maximum if they want a chance in this game.
One of these teams has been ready for the big-time spotlight for a while, and it’s not the Cardinals of Louisville.
While their offense is strong, it won’t be enough to keep up with the offense of UCF, especially with how bad their defense has shown they can be. In 12 of their last 17 losses, Louisville has allowed more than 40 points to opposing offenses, and UCF will definitely take advantage of that Friday night.
UCF will be too much for the Cardinals to handle, so I like UCF to cover the seven-point spread.
Final Pick: UCF -7 (-110)
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