at BYU 24 ... UCF 17
Posted Sep 23, 2011

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - UCF at BYU

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - UCF at BYU

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Sept. 23 at BYU 24 … UCF 17
CFN Analysis: Don't let this desperately needed win gloss over the major problems BYU continues to have. The defense came up big with the three game-changing turnovers, and Riley Stephenson was terrific blasting away on his kicks, keeping UCF under wraps in key spots, but the offense still didn't work. Everything that's being tried is getting stuffed. Jake Heaps isn't coming up with any big plays, Riley Nelson isn't getting the offense moving with his feet, and there aren't any big plays down the field whatsoever. As good as the defense and special teams might be, if the offense doesn't find any answers, and doesn't get more out of the skill players, the Cougars will be in huge trouble against Utah State next Friday.

UCF flat-out gagged away the game to the Cougars. Even though he was banged up and made some poor decisions on the final desperate drive, Jeff Godfrey threw for 272 yards, while Blake Bortles stepped up when forced into action and was accurate. The special teams breakdowns, the three turnovers, and the problems in the second half meant a second straight tough loss after a terrific start to the year. Fortunately, UCF is still 0-0 in conference play with Marshall and a trip to SMU coming up next, and if the defense continues to play as well as it did against the Cougars, the mistakes on offense will come around. One key thing to work on is the return game, with the one return going for -4 yards and with nothing coming on the kickoff returns.

(AP) PROVO, Utah -- Cody Hoffman returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown and BYU forced three turnovers in a 24-17 victory over Central Florida on Friday night.

Bryan Kariya's 6-yard TD run with 10:29 left gave BYU a 24-17 lead, and the Cougars stymied a last-minute drive by the Knights.

The victory was a much-needed boost for the Cougars (2-2), who were coming off a 44-point loss at home to rival Utah.

Central Florida (2-2) now has dropped two straight after outscoring its first two opponents 92-3.

Hoffman's third-quarter score was BYU's first kickoff return for a touchdown in 13 years, a string of 160 games, and answered an 84-yard scoring drive directed by Central Florida quarterback Jeff Godfrey.

Godfrey ran for two touchdowns, but he also threw his first interception late in the game as the Knights were driving.

UCF (2-1) at BYU (1-2) Sept. 23, 8:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Just seven days ago, this matchup looked like a Friday night treat. Today? Not quite as savory. UCF and BYU are coming off rough Week 3 outings, losing games to in-state foes. Owners of two straight emotional losses, the Cougars are in a particularly tenuous spot these days. They just got done being humiliated in Provo by rival Utah, 54-10, in what will have to go down as one of the 10 worst defeats in program history. In a season that began with such high hopes, head coach Bronco Mendenhall is scrambling to turn things around before 2011 completely unravels.

While not in quite the same pickle as this week's opponent, the Knights are still reeling after dropping a game to Florida International, 17-10. Everything was going swimmingly for UCF leading up to the trip, but it put forth an uncharacteristically poor effort. Its six-game winning streak and quest for a perfect season now over, UCF will make an unusually long road trip in order to relocate its momentum.

Why UCF Might Win: A visit from the Knights D is the last thing a sputtering BYU offense wants to see on Friday night. The Cougars rank 111th nationally in scoring, failing to put up more than 16 points in any individual game. And the ground game has averaged an appalling 1.9 yards a carry. Enter UCF, a stingy group that's been a rock in all phases. The unit has yielded just one touchdown in touchdown in 12 quarters, and ranks No. 5 nationally in third down stops. The Knights will be a step faster than a physical, but lumbering BYU offensive line, pressuring QB Jake Heaps with a combination of LB Jonathan Davis and a very quick defensive line.

Why BYU Might Win: Yeah, the wheels came off the Cougars defense last week, but it didn't get any help from an offense that lost six fumbles and turned the ball over seven times. In the first two weeks, the D gave up just 30 points combined to Ole Miss and Texas. Florida International shined a light on UCF's pass protection problems, using blitzes and different looks to collect six sacks. BYU, which has yet to get to the quarterback in 2011, will need to become creative by unleashing linebackers Jordan Pendleton and Uona Kaveinga. The time has come for the Cougars to start bullying opponents behind a massive offensive line that's headed by LT Matt Reynolds and C Terence Brown.

What To Watch Out For: UCF QB Jeff Godfrey is looking to bounce back from a rare quiet game, the result of having constant Golden Panthers in his face. The sophomore playmaker will be a problem for BYU because of his ability to make accurate throws or tuck it and run when the opportunity exists. There should be no concerns about his confidence level following last week's rough game. Though just a sophomore, he plays with the poise and steely resolve of a fifth-year senior.

What Will Happen: Even when playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium, it's becoming difficult to like BYU's chances to beat a quality opponent. Plus, the Cougars have to still be smarting from its loss to Utah. UCF, on the other hand, will have a short memory. The Knights have won their last 10 games following a loss, and always get jacked up for rare spotlight games in front of a national TV audience. Their speed, especially on defense, will send BYU into an even deeper tailspin.

CFN Prediction: UCF 27 … BYU 19  
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: BYU -2.5. O/U: 44

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