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No.22 UCF looks to remain undefeated against struggling ECU

UCF expecting a tougher game than ECU's 1-5 record might suggest

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The Associated Press

Thursday, October 12, 2017

East Carolina (1-5, 1-2 American) at No. 22 UCF (4-0, 2-0), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)

Line: UCF by 34 ½.

Series record: ECU leads 10-5.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Looking to keep in step for a shot at the American Athletic Conference title and possibly a New Year’s Six Bowl, UCF can’t afford any slipups. The Knights have a big challenge next week at Navy but they cannot overlook a struggling ECU team.

KEY MATCHUP

UCF QB McKenzie Milton vs. ECU’s defense. Milton has turned the corner this season in terms of command of the offense and the ability to find open receivers with the deep ball. Milton has averaged 263.7 yards passing per game with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. The Pirates rank ninth in the AAC in passing defense, allowing an average of 317.2 yards per game have surrendered 16 touchdowns while intercepting just two passes.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ECU: QB Thomas Sirk is a dual-threat who will keep the UCF defense on its heels with his running ability. The graduate transfer from Duke leads the team in rushing with 145 yards and two touchdowns. Sirk is also completing 57 percent of his passes, with seven TD passes and seven interceptions.

UCF: Junior college transfer CB Mike Hughes may have joined fall camp late but the former player from North Carolina has made a huge impact on the Knights secondary. Has two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and his 2.0 passes defended per game leads the nation.

FACTS & FIGURES

UCF has a chance to be 5-0 for the first time since 1988 and the first time in the program’s Division I era. ... UCF WR Tre’Quan Smith scored on receptions of 79 and 41 yards on his first two catches against Cincinnati last week and finished with three touchdowns. ... UCF is one of three teams in the country that rank in the top 11 in both offense and scoring defense -- joining Alabama and Washington. The Knights are No.1 in scoring offense (47.5 points per game) and No.11 in scoring defense (15.8). ... Second-year ECU coach Scottie Montgomery was Sirk’s offensive coordinator at Duke.

More AP college football coverage: http://collegefootball.ap.org and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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