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Week 11 – UCF at UTEP
Posted Nov 9, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – UCF at UTEP

UCF (7-2) at UTEP (2-7) Nov. 10, 7:00, FCS

Here’s The Deal: UCF is rolling through the schedule, even getting some votes for the Top 25.

Having only lost to Ohio State and Missouri this season, the Knights are in control of the East Division of Conference USA. Barring an unlikely collapse, they’ll return to the league title game one final time before setting sail for the Big East. And UCF isn’t simply riding a five-game winning streak; it’s running circles around opponents with a blend of both offense and defense.

UTEP has been on a disparate trajectory as UCF, guaranteeing a seventh straight losing season after falling in Houston last Saturday. Speculation about the future of long-time head coach Mike Price continues to run rampant around El Paso. His popularity remains virtually intact, but the sub-standard results on the field have been impossible to ignore.

Why UCF Might Win: Better offense. Better defense. Better prepared.

The beauty of the Knights is that they can win games so many different ways. RB Latavius Murray is the leader of a balanced attack, rushing for at least 150 yards and two scores in each of the last three games. The defense is ranked No. 1 in Conference USA, yielding only eight touchdown passes all season. And the special teams unit has been fueled by the big-play potential of speedy return men J.J. Worton and Quincy McDuffie.

Why UTEP Might Win: This week, UCF is in El Paso. Next Saturday, it travels to Tulsa in a likely prequel of the Conference USA Championship Game. Yeah, the Knights are capable of looking right past the Miners.

UTEP hopes to build on last week’s finish, when it scored the final four touchdowns in Houston. Rookie Blair Sullivan threw a couple of touchdown passes, opening up the possibility that he’ll steal more reps from incumbent Nick Lamaison. As is often the case, the Miners have talent and pop at the skill positions, including RB Nathan Jeffery and receivers Mike Edwards and Jordan Leslie.

What To Watch Out For: Whoever is taking snaps for the home team better know where No. 58 is at all times.

UCF DE Troy Davis is a cat-quick, high-motor presence off the edge, leading the team with 6.5 sacks. He’s one of the unsung reasons that the Knights rank 20th in the country in pass efficiency defense. UTEP only stands a chance if its quarterbacks can make plays. And the passers will only make plays if opposing defenders aren’t draped on their backs.

What Will Happen: The Miners don’t have it in them to defeat the most complete team in Conference USA.

UCF’s roll won’t take a detour in El Paso. Instead, the Knights will remain on course by outclassing UTEP for all 60 minutes. They’ll control the pace of the game with Murray, teeing up QB Blake Bortles on play-action. While the Miners have the right weapons for occasional success on offense, it won’t be nearly enough to pick up a third win on the season.

CFN Prediction: UCF 34 … UTEP 16
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) UCF -13.5 O/U: 51.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 1.5