Beef O'Brady's Bowl: UCF Knights vs. Ball State Cardinals (+7, 61.5)
BEEF ‘O’ BRADY’S BOWL STORYLINES
1. Ball State began the season 3-3 and has won six straight games since, while Central Florida was victorious in two of its first four games before finishing 7-2.
2. Jahwan Edwards of Ball State and Central Florida’s Latavius Murray have each rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Cardinals average 214.3 yards and UCF 178.7 on the ground.
3. Ball State has won four games with scores in the last two minutes of regulation or in overtime. Central Florida is 2-3 in games decided by seven points or less.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE: Central Florida opened as a touchdown favorite and has remained steady. The total has also stood pat at 61.5 points.
CONSENSUS: Fifty-six percent of Covers Consensus picks are on Ball State while 58 percent are on the over.
* Knights are 5-2 ATS in their last seven vs. MAC.
* Cardinals are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 non-conference games.
* Under is 7-2 in Knights' last nine vs. MAC.
* Over is 4-1-1 in Cardinals' last six non-conference games.
ABOUT BALL STATE (9-3, 6-2 MAC, 9-3 ATS): The Cardinals are tied for the third most victories in the program’s history, thanks to a productive offense. Ball State’s losses are to Clemson, Northern Illinois and Kent State - who combined for a 33-5 record - and the Cardinals have averaged 31 points in those games. Quarterback Keith Wenning, who is probable with an Achilles injury which kept him out of the last regular-season game, has completed 65.5 percent of his passes and thrown for 22 touchdowns while averaging 261.2 yards. Willie Snead is the top target with 82 receptions and 1,070 yards and 135-pound Jamill Smith has 69 for 706. Edwards, who has totaled of 1,321 yards, keys a ground game that has produced more than 220 yards in four of the last five games. Linebacker Travis Freeman is the nation’s active leader in career tackles with 455. Ball State is 0-5 in bowl games and plays in its first since the 2008-09 season.
ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (9-4, 7-1 C-USA, 6-7 ATS): The Knights have lost to undefeated Ohio State, bowl-bound Tulsa twice and Missouri – three of those by six points or less. Central Florida, which has won one of three games all time against Ball State, has been balanced by scoring 31 times on the ground and 25 through the air. Murray has 1,035 yards rushing in 10 games. Quarterback Blake Bortles has thrown 22 touchdown passes with only seven interceptions – three less than his counterpart. Bortles averages more than 200 yards and has completed 62.6 percent of his passes. J.J. Worton, Rannell Hall and Jeff Godfrey all have at least 31 receptions and 400 yards, combining for 11 scores. Central Florida is tied for 16th in the nation in turnover margin plus .85). The Knights are 1-3 in bowl games, winning their last against Georgia in the 2010 Liberty Bowl. They lost to Rutgers 45-24 in the 2009 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.