No. 9 Miami Hurricanes (4-1, 3-1 ATS) at Central Florida Knights (3-2, 4-0)
Land Shark Stadium Miami, F.L. Saturday October 17th, 7:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Miami -14.5/Central Florida +14.5
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The Miami Hurricanes were written off as an over rated team that received too much praise early in the season a few weeks back after getting man handled by Virginia Tech by 24 points. However, one week later the Hurricanes pulled off a huge win over Oklahoma 21-20 to denounce those perceptions. The Hurricanes climbed back up to the number 9 ranking in America this past week and it’s pretty obvious that the Virginia Tech team they lost to is among the best in the nation. However, still many question the Hurricanes inconsistent play and are they truly a top 10 worthy team? The Hurricanes toppled Florida A&M last week 48-16 and take to the road against the Central Florida Knights.
Central Florida would seem like the most unworthy of challengers. However, the Knights hold a perfect 4-0 record against the books this season and could give the Hurricanes a tough time when the two teams square off this Saturday night. Central Florida hosts Miami after a 32-14 victory over Memphis last week to tread above the .500 mark on the season for at least one more week. The Knights have struggled for the most part of the season on the offensive side of the ball ranking 80th or worse in nearly in offensive categories. The Knights are averaging just 23 points per game with 319 total yards. Those numbers will not hold against the big passing threat of Miami this weekend because the Hurricanes can score points in a hurry.
Senior QB Brett Hodges has been mediocre to say the least with 908 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions this season. Hodges is completing 61.6% on the season and now gets his chance to make his name heard against the Hurricanes secondary that has been very vulnerable at time this season. However, the Knights passing offense has just not had the success desired. Running back Brynn Harvey has been the biggest playmaker on offense averaging 107 yards per contest. Harvey has 6 touchdowns and averaging 4.2 yards a pop. The offense could definitely benefit if Harvey could make some plays early. If that happens it will move the defense up and give Harvey a chance to expose the Miami weakness. If that happens, it could turn into a ball game behind a pretty fair Knights defense.
The Hurricanes big season is credited from the play of sophomore QB Jacory Harris. Harris is having one of the biggest breakout players of anyone in the nation and if not for him the Hurricanes may very well be just average this season. However, Harris has developed the passing offense into an elite group. Harris has thrown for 1,225 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. The downside is the Hurricanes star quarterback has given up 7 picks on the season a trend that is becoming all too frequent. Still, the passing offense is poised with big weapons. WR Travis Benjamin is a speedster who can burn safeties on the deep ball and wide out Leonard Hankerson is a big body target that can make plays as well.
The Hurricanes defense does not get a lot of credit, but as a whole they are a solid group. On paper the secondary looks strong allowing just 171 yards per game equaling 22nd best in the nation. However, the secondary has had their moments and may not be as good as the numbers indicate. Up front the defensive line may be a bit under rate. The Hurricanes front four played very well against Oklahoma and shut down their running game. Central Florida tends to keep the ball on the ground which means the Hurricanes main priority on defense will be stopping the run. They will be much stronger and faster up front which should not be much of a tasks. As long as the offense does not sputter, the Hurricanes should cruise into Clemson next week at 6-1.
Miami is just 1-4 SU in their last 5 road games, but hold a 7-3 mark against the spread in their last 10 road trips. Central Florida is perfect 4-0 ATS this season and have also won 11 of their last 15 games at home.
Jay’s Pick – Miami -14.5.