The 2014 bowl season continues into its second weekend with a Friday evening (8:00 pm ET) game featuring the NC State Wolfpack (7-5) of the Atlantic Coast Conference and the UCF Knights (9-3) of the American Athletic Conference in the St. Petersburg Bowl from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Wolfpack won their final two games of the regular season over Wake Forest 42-13 and in-state rival North Carolina 35-7 in their finale. NC State was a streaky team this season, roaring out to a 4-0 start before dropping their next 4 games in row and finishing with wins in 3 of their final 4 games. The Knights were on fire down the stretch, winning their last 4 regular season games. They started the season 0-2, with losses to Penn St. (26-24) in Dublin Ireland and Missouri (38-10) on the road before settling down to win 9 of their final 10 games.
NC State is ranked 58th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 29.8 points per game and 62nd among FBS teams in total offense with 402 yards per contest. The Wolfpack rank 67th nationally in points allowed with 27 per game and 49th in total defense 373.1 YPG allowed.
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UCF is ranked 68th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 28.2 PPG scored and 99th among FBS teams in total offense with 362.8 YPG. The Knights rank 8th nationally in points allowed with 17.9 per game and 3rd in total defense 282.8 YPG allowed.
NC State vs. UCF Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
NC State Wolfpack +2.5
@ UCF Knights -2.5
Over 48,5 (-110)
Under 48.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
NC State vs UCF Pick
The Wolfpack are 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 bowl games, 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Knights are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games against a team with a winning record, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Friday games and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. The Under is 4-1 in the Wolfpack’s last 5 games following an outright win of more than 20 points, 6-2 in their last 8 games following a ATS win and 8-3-1 in their last 12 games against teams with a winning record. The Under is 4-0 in Knights last 4 games against ACC teams, 8-1 in their last 9 Friday games and 5-1 in their last 6 games on fieldturf. The teams have split their two previous meetings, with NC State notching a 28-21 victory in 2010.
UCF is pursuing its 4th consecutive bowl victory, but NC State has had a bounce back season and is returning to the postseason after going 3-9 last season. For UCF QB Justin Holman has thrown 20 TDs and 13 INTs, and wideout Brashad Perriman has caught a TD pass in seven straight games.The offense struggled early before averaging 33 points during the 4 game winning streak to close the regular season. NC State QB Jacoby Brissett has thrown for 22 TDs and 5 INTs and has run for 498 yards and three TDs. Mike Rose has 14 tackles-for-loss on a defense that has allowed an average of 15.9 points in its 7 victories.
Neither team is complete, UCF has struggled offensively, while NC State has been very inconsistent on defenses this year. The Knights are a more battle-tested squad though having won 4 straight bowl games and playing in Dublin earlier this season, while NC State is inexperience coming off a bad season in 2013. That experience and their improvement on offense down the stretch gives the Knights the edge here, take UCF and give the points.