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at UCF 16 … Marshall 6

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 8, 2011


Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Marshall at UCF


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Marshall at UCF

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Oct. 8 at UCF 16 … Marshall 6
CFN Analysis: The pass defense is playing at a whole other level. Marshall doesn’t have a high-octane passing attack, but the secondary is playing at a high level. The Knights didn’t generate much of a pass rush, but Josh Robinson and the corners are clamping down and not giving up any room to move. The run defense wasn’t bad, either, giving up just 43 yards. Jeff Godfrey isn’t bombing away, but he didn’t need to with Brynn Harvey running for 180 yards as the workhorse helping the Knights hold on to the ball for over 40 minutes. This might not look like much of a blowout, but it was a dominant 16-6 win.

The offense didn’t have a prayer against a swarming UCF defense that didn’t allow a thing. Rakeem Cato struggled, completing just 11-of-29 passes for 87 yards, and the ground game didn’t pick up the slack with just 43 yards. There weren’t any long, sustained drives holding on to the ball for fewer than 20 minutes and doing nothing to move the chains converting a mere 2-of-14 third down shots. Omar Brown had a huge game making 18 tackles with a pick, but he couldn’t help the offense. 115th in the nation in total offense and 113th in rushing, with Rice and Houston up next the defense might have to force a slew of big takeaways and the O has to take advantage of every opportunity.

(AP) ORLANDO, Fla. -- Central Florida running back Brynn Harvey rushed 30 times for 180 yards and quarterback Jeff Godfrey threw his first passing touchdown of the season as the Knights held on to beat Marshall 16-6 Saturday night.

The win ended a two-game losing skid for UCF (3-2, 1-0 Conference USA) and gave coach George O'Leary his 100th career victory.

Marshall (2-4, 1-1) came in with lots of momentum after an upset win over Louisville last week, but struggled to find its offensive footing in steady rainfall throughout the game.

The Thundering Herd had only one first down in the first half and 130 total yards in the game. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, who was huge in the Louisville victory, completed only 11 of 29 throws for 87 yards.

Marshall (2-3) at UCF (2-2) Oct. 8, 7:00, BrightHouse Sports Network

Here’s The Deal … Marshall is determined to join a crowded East Division race that rarely mentions its name as a viable contender. In order to do so, though, it’ll have to win in Orlando against a team that’s owned the last six meetings. Doc Holliday’s Thundering Herd has been a difficult team to understand this fall, losing badly to Ohio, yet upsetting Southern Miss and Louisville. Last Saturday’s 17-13 victory at PapaJohn’s Stadium was a very pleasant surprise that could propel the program higher during the second half of the season.

UCF returns to action well-rested following a 15-day hiatus. The Knights are eager to get back home, especially since their back-to-back losses prior to the bye week were at Florida International and BYU. Their goals are simple; recapture the form they had in the Week 2 rout of Boston College, and prove that they’re still the team to beat in Conference USA.

Why Marshall Might Win: The Herd defense flexed its muscles in Louisville in a showcase of its potential on that side of the ball. It allowed a Big East opponent to rush for only 60 yards and score just a pair of touchdowns, while sacking QB Teddy Bridgewater five times. Marshall harbors the all-around athleticism to match UCF, and the pass rush to force Knights QB Jeff Godfrey to complete passes on the move. DE Vinny Curry is a menace coming around the corner, which helps create more space for his teammates, such as LB George Carpenter and NT Delvin Johnson.

Why UCF Might Win: The Knights can play a little defense as well, ranking in the top 15 nationally in run defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and scoring D. It’ll be a long night for erratic rookie QB Rakeem Cato, who’ll be looking to be the first player to throw a touchdown pass against UCF this fall. The secondary is air-tight, a feisty veteran unit led by CB Josh Robinson and FS Kemal Ishmael. Having success versus the Knights defense requires balance and versatility, which the Herd will be unable to deliver; Marshall ranks 110th in the country in rushing, and has yet to produce a touchdown on the ground.

What To Watch Out For: Godfrey vs. Cato will be an interesting matchup that goes a long way to determining the outcome of this game. They’re similar players, young, confident, undersized and able to beat opposing defenses with their wheels. Heck, the two played for the same high school, Miami Central in South Florida. While Godfrey is the better runner and has a full season more of experience, the two are essentially mirror images of one another, which should help the defenses prepare for the challenge ahead.

What Will Happen: A trip to BrightHouse Networks Stadium to play a well-rested UCF squad will be a tall order for Marshall, especially its impotent offense. While Cato’s future is promising, it won’t be so obvious on Saturday night. He’ll be under constant pressure, forced to improvise without much help from his running backs or wide receivers. Godfrey will dominate this friendly rivalry, looking fresh after getting a couple of weeks to rest his dinged-up elbow. He and the running trio of Ronnie Weaver, Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey will provide the Knights with all the offense they need in a low-scoring game dictated by the two defenses.

CFN Prediction: UCF 28 … Marshall 13
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