October 8, 2017 / 4:43 AM / 2 months ago

Preview: Central Florida at Cincinnati

Central Florida hopes to keep its climb up the rankings intact and may have found a new offensive weapon as the No. 25 Knights head to Cincinnati on Saturday. After losing starting running back Jawon Hamilton for the season, sophomore Adrian Killins, Jr., emerged as a big-play threat for the explosive UCF offense.

Killins rushed for a career-high 115 yards, which included a school-record 96-yard touchdown run in last week’s rout of Memphis while finishing with 179 yards from scrimmage to earn American Athletic Conference co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. The 96-yard run also set AAC records for longest run, longest touchdown run and longest play from scrimmage. Killins already had to his credit a 100-yard kickoff return and an 87-yard touchdown run from last season. Killins and the UCF ground attack, which is averaging 249.3 yards per game, figures to be in store for another big day against a Bearcats’ defense that struggles against the run, allowing an average of 237.8 yards through five contests.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: UCF -17

CENTRAL FLORIDA (3-0, 1-0 ACC): While sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton deserves credit for guiding a UCF offensive attack that averages 539.3 yards, the Knights’ defense has more than done its job early in the season. UCF has allowed 13.3 points per game, ranked seventh in the nation in points allowed. The defense also ranks fourth in the nation in third-down conversion, allowing 21.6 percent on third down, while forcing 10 total turnovers to help the Knights to the nation’s best turnover margin at plus-2.3 per game.

CINCINNATI (2-3, 0-1): The Bearcats have been plagued by slow starts this season, struggling to find any rhythm offensively. While Cincinnati averages 319.4 yards of offense per game, the Bearcats have averaged only 37 yards in the opening quarter this season and been outscored 42-17. The ground game, in particular, has been ineffective with only 35 total yards in the opening 15 minutes.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Central Florida is one of three FBS teams to rank in the top 10 in scoring offense and defense, joining No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 Washington.

2. UCF is seeking its first 4-0 start to the season since 1988, when it was a Division II program.

3. Cincinnati features three backs - Michael Warren II, Mike Boone and Gerrid Doaks -- averaging more than 4.5 yards per carry despite a rushing attack that averages only 100 yards per game.

PREDICTION: UCF 45, Cincinnati 13

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