Bet College Football Week 7 Thursday Night FootballJosh Bailey
No. 18 BYU Faces UCF Without Heisman Hopeful Hill!
The 18th-ranked BYU Cougars will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season and pull off the upset over a Central Florida Knights team that has played improved football in winning each of its last two games.
The AAC rivals will throw down on Thursday night at 7:30 PM ET, live from Bright House Networks Stadium.
No. 18 BYU Cougars at UCF Knights
When: Thursday, Oct 9
Where: Bright House Networks Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 PM ET
Spread: Central Florida -3
Not only does BYU come into this Week 7 matchup off their first loss of the season, but the Cougars will do so without its team leader and starting quarterback, Taysom Hill.
BYU’s Heisman trophy candidate broke his leg in the first half of the Cougars’ 35-20 home loss to Utah State on Saturday. Hill will be replaced by Christian Stewart, but he will be hard-pressed to replace the 326 yards per game and 3 touchdowns that Hill was responsible for.
"It was a tough situation (to see) your best friend coming off the field hurt. … It’s a terrible thing that Taysom went down, but if there’s a guy that’s ready to step up, it’s me," Stewart told reporters after the loss.
Junior running back Jamaal Williams led the Cougars in rushing last week by carrying 17 times for 99 yards while wide receivers, Mitch Mathews (career-high 135 yards) and Jordan Leslie (career-high 117) both topped the 100-yard plateau on Saturday.
— BYU Football (@BYUfootball) October 3, 2014
Central Florida has won two straight after dropping their first two games of the season and narrowly got past Houston 17-12 in their Week 6 matchup to cash in as a 2-point road underdog.
Sophomore quarterback Justin Holman completed just 6 of 18 passes but tossed two touchdowns and no interceptions for the second consecutive game as he tries to fill the shoes of former team leader and current Jacksonville Jaguars starter, Blake Bortles.
The Knights overpowered the Cougars defensively as they recorded two interceptions and one forced fumble while watching defensive lineman Jaryl Mamea, record three sacks and fellow lineman Thomas Niles pick up one sack for the fifth straight game.
"Any win’s a good win," UCF coach George O’Leary said. "It’s a good first conference game. … Houston’s a good offense. I thought, except for a couple series, the back end played very well today and tackled well."
I really liked the way BYU was playing behind its captivating signal-caller this season, but with Taysom Hill out of the lineup, I’m not sure how the Cougars are going to respond for Stewart. Central Florida is playing much better on both sides of the ball and are playing at home in this one.
While I expected this to be more of a rebuilding year for Central Florida following Bortles’ departure, I do like the Knights to win this game and cover the spread with just a bit of room to spare.
BYU is just 2-7-1 ATS in its last 10 games while Central Florida has gone 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against a team with a winning record.
My Pick: Central Florida 24 BYU 17