at FIU 17 … UCF 10
Posted Sep 17, 2011

Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - UCF at FIU

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 3 - UCF at FIU

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Sept. 17 at FIU 17 … UCF 10
CFN Analysis: COMING

(AP) MIAMI -- Florida International's Isame Faciane returned a fumble by Central Florida quarterback Jeff Godfrey 51-yards for a score and Darriet Perry added a touchdown run as the Panthers overcame an injury to star receiver T.Y. Hilton to outlast Central Florida 17-10 Saturday night.

The win moved the Panthers to 3-0 for the first time in school history and ended the Knights' best start since 1988. UCF coach George O'Leary was also denied his 100th career coaching win.

FIU earned the victory after Hilton went down with an apparent right hamstring injury late in the first half. The receiver returned in the third quarter and lasted only two plays, sitting out the rest of the contest.

But the Panthers defense picked up the slack, sacking Godfrey six times.

FIU returns to Sun Belt Conference play next week against Louisiana. UCF stays on the road with a Friday visit to BYU.

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UCF (2-0) at Florida International (2-0) Sept. 17, 6:00,

Here's The Deal … Although Saturday night's game in Miami won't even register on the national Richter Scale, it's going to be a really big deal for the two schools involved. UCF and Florida International meet for the first time, both fresh off impressive wins over BCS schools. The Knights, which have won six straight games, just got done spanking Boston College, 30-3. The defending Conference USA champs is smoking hot and on the lip of the Top 25 cup.

Not to be denied, the Golden Panthers are out of the gate quickly as well, blowing out North Texas before surprising Louisville at Papa John's Stadium, 24-17. At 2-0 for the first time since its birth in 2002, the reigning Sun Belt Conference champions are one of the fastest growing programs in America. The winner at FIU Stadium is going to have a fighter's chance of going undefeated in 2011.

Why UCF Might Win: It's hard to quibble with anything the Knights have done over the first eight quarters of the season. The running game has been dynamite, and the defense has allowed just a single field goal. QB Jeff Godfrey has yet to throw a touchdown pass, but he's scored five times, and is one of four Knights who's rushed for 100 yards through two games. The Golden Panthers offense, on the other hand, has been spotty, which will continue this weekend. Despite the graduations of key players, the UCF defense has regrouped exceedingly well around a new set of burgeoning stoppers. LB Jonathan Davis, for instance, has become a force, suing his speed and tenacity to make four stops for loss and two sacks in the wins.

Why Florida International Might Win: Godfrey is exciting, but no one in this game will match the explosiveness of Golden Panthers WR T.Y. Hilton. One of America's most exciting playmakers, on offense and special teams, he's already caught 14 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns. The pleasant surprise in the early going for Florida International has been the play of the defense. A concern just a few weeks ago, the D is giving up only 2.2 yards a carry, and sacked Louisville quarterbacks six times. The unit is getting contributions from everywhere, a total team effort. DE Tourek Williams and CB Sam Miller stepped up in a big way last week, each making three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

What To Watch Out For: Hilton is a future NFL player, who'll entice pro scouts to watch him play this fall. He'll have to work a little harder this week than in the first two games versus ordinary defensive backfield. UCF boasts an aggressive secondary, with defenders, like CB Josh Robinson and FS Kemal Ishmael, who don't blow many coverages. Hilton figures to get plenty of attention from the Knights, which will force the other Golden Panthers receivers to become viable targets for QB Wesley Carroll. To this point, it's been Hilton and everybody else, which can't continue.

What Will Happen: For a stadium that holds only 18,000 fans, FIU will be rocking on Saturday night. As Sunshine State undercards go, this is a key one for all kinds of reasons, including local recruiting. Florida International has a great future, which might include back-to-back Sun Belt crowns, but UCF is on a different level right now. The Knights have the nastier defense, better quarterback and fewer opposing playmakers to corral. Godfrey is the kind of leader perfectly suited for this type of situation. The sophomore will calmly play mistake-free ball, while getting a couple of timely, short-field chances courtesy of his defense.

CFN Prediction: UCF 28 … Florida International 17
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