6 things to know before UCF plays ECU

Knights play at 7 p.m. Saturday

By Ryan Welch - Sports Anchor
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

The University of Central Florida Knights play the East Carolina University Pirates on Saturday at the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Ahead of the 7 p.m. kickoff, here are six things you need to know about the Knights and the Pirates:

1. The Knights are going for their 20th consecutive win this Saturday at East Carolina. The Pirates have struggled to a 2-4 record so far and don't have the overall talent to match UCF.  A key for the Knights: Don't fall into the trap of overlooking an inferior opponent.  

2. ECU boasts a passionate fan base that should be extremely vocal during the primetime showdown on Saturday. Unlike this past weekend in Memphis, the Knights would be wise to set the tone early and take the crowd out of it. The longer the underdog Pirates can hang around, the louder Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will become.

3. Crank up the pressure on defense. ECU is breaking in a new starting quarterback, true freshman Holton Ahlers, on Saturday. Adding to the offensive uncertainty, the Pirates will likely start a backup center as well. This should be music to the ears of UCF's defenders.  

4. UCF coach Josh Heupel harps on going 1-0 every week, and it's clear his guys have been able to narrow their focus to that week's opponent. When facing an ECU team winless in conference play, some quick-strike scores by the Knights could bury a Pirates team still searching for confidence.

5. The Knights will be off the weekend after the matchup on Saturday, before hosting Temple on Thursday, Nov. 1. There are few things coaches and players enjoy more than going into an off week with a solid performance in every phase of the game.

6. Despite their nation-leading 19-game winning streak, the Knights find themselves in a dogfight in the American Athletic Conference standings. In fact, three other divisional teams, University of South Florida, Cincinnati and Temple are also undefeated in conference play. Given that parity, UCF can ill afford a slip-up on Saturday.
 

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