football | ncaaf

Tulane Green Wave vs. Central Florida Knights Pick & Prediction OCT 24TH 2020

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The host UCF Knights and the Tulane Green Wave, who will meet Saturday in an American Athletic Conference game, are both coming off heartbreaking losses.

UCF (2-2, 1-2) lost 50-49 at Memphis. Tulane (2-3, 0-3) lost 37-34 in overtime against unbeaten SMU.

In fact, UCF, which went 25-1 in 2017 and 2018 and 37-4 from 2017 until the end of last month, has finally hit a rough patch. The Knights have lost two consecutive games, their first such skid since 2016.

The Knights allowed Memphis to score 21 fourth-quarter points, including the game-winning touchdown with 68 seconds left.

UCF could have gone back on top, but Daniel Obarski missed wide left on a 40-yard field-goal attempt with 19 seconds remaining.

Some Knights players angrily shouted at Obarski on the sideline, but UCF wide receiver Marlon Williams said he took a different tack.

"I talked to (Obarski) in the locker room, and I told him that one play doesn't win or lose the game," Williams said. "Yes, it was the last play of the game, but there were way more mistakes (earlier)."

The positives for UCF included the play of sophomore quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who set a school and conference record with 601 passing yards and a school-record five touchdowns. The lefty leads the nation with 439 passing yards per game, and he ranks third with 14 TD throws this season.

UCF wide receivers Jaylon Robinson, Ryan O'Keefe and Williams all caught passes for at least 100 yards. In fact, all had career-high games: O'Keefe with 175 yards, followed by Williams (169) and Robinson (151).

Robinson, who ranks sixth in the nation with an average of 134.8 receiving yards per game, has had at least 100 in all four UCF contests this season.

The Knights lead the conference in scoring (43.8 points per game), yards (636.2), passing yards (439) and turnover margin (plus-seven).

Meanwhile, Tulane -- listed as a 20-point underdog against UCF -- is 0-2 since switching to true freshman quarterback Michael Pratt, a three-star recruit from Florida (Deerfield Beach).

Pratt, a 6-foot-2, 200-pounder who stepped in for benched senior Keon Howard, has completed 43 of 101 passes for 667 yards, five TDs and two interceptions. Pratt also has six rushing touchdowns.

Just the seventh Tulane quarterback since 1975 who has started at least one game as a true freshman, Pratt has earned praise from Green Wave coach Willie Fritz and his offensive coordinator Will Hall.

"Michael is a great leader," Hall said. "He's a tremendous talent and a really good passer. He plays better in games than in practice. There are going to be growing pains, but his future is really bright."

Pratt, who plays with poise and a swagger, will take aim at a shaky UCF defense that is allowing 33.2 points per game.

Tulane is averaging 36.4 points on offense while allowing a humbling 32.2.

The Green Wave's rushing offense (229.4) leads the league, and sophomore running back Cam Carroll ranks fourth in the nation with eight touchdowns.

But Tulane's passing game (154.8) pales in comparison to UCF, and that has at least something to do with Pratt and the transition Tulane is undergoing at quarterback.

Tulane is last in the league in passing efficiency but first in punting average as Ryan Wright is booming the ball at a clip of 46.5 per boot.

Defensively, Tulane is led by 6-3, 250-pound senior Patrick Johnson, a defensive end/outside linebacker who is regarded as an NFL prospect. He leads the league in tackles for losses (7.5) and sacks (6.0). His sacks also rank eighth in the nation.

Tulane's other defensive end is 6-3, 280-pound Cameron Sample, who is tied for second in the league with three sacks and has 5.0 tackles for losses.

That pass rush will have to be heavy because the Green Wave's secondary will be severely tested by UCF's passing game.

Overall, UCF leads its series with Tulane, 7-2, including 4-0 in Orlando, site of Saturday's game.

--Field Level Media

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Tulane Green Wave

Central Florida Knights

alignments not yet available

Tulane Green Wave

Central Florida Knights

  • Match Start
  • Period 1
  • MIN 4
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 20 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Merek Glover
    • Passer: Michael Pratt
    • Pass Receiver: Jha'Quan Jackson
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 54 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Pass Receiver: Marlon Williams
    • Passer: Dillon Gabriel
  • MIN 9
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 28 Yards
    • Passer: Michael Pratt
    • Conv Kicker: Merek Glover
    • Pass Receiver: Duece Watts
  • MIN 11
    • scoring-play
    • Field Goal
    • 23 Yards
    • FG Kicker: Daniel Obarski
  • Period 2
  • MIN 0
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 7 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Pass Receiver: Marlon Williams
    • Passer: Dillon Gabriel
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 4 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Passer: Dillon Gabriel
    • Pass Receiver: Jake Hescock
  • MIN 9
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 2 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Rusher: Bentavious Thompson
  • MIN 13
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 3 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Rusher: Greg McCrae
  • Period 3
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 8 Yards
    • Pass Receiver: Jha'Quan Jackson
    • Passer: Michael Pratt
    • Conv Kicker: Merek Glover
  • MIN 3
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 41 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Pass Receiver: Jacob Harris
    • Passer: Dillon Gabriel
  • MIN 7
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Pass
    • 35 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Daniel Obarski
    • Pass Receiver: Marlon Williams
    • Passer: Dillon Gabriel
  • MIN 9
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Fumble Return/Recovery
    • 0 Yards
    • Conv Kicker: Merek Glover
    • Fumble Recoverer: Tyrick James
  • Period 4
  • MIN 8
    • scoring-play
    • Touchdown
    • Rush
    • 9 Yards
    • Rusher: Stephon Huderson
    • Conv Rusher: Michael Pratt
  • Match End

GAMES

Last 10

W 50% L 50%
5 5
  • @Tulsa L 24 - 30
  • Army W 12 - 38
  • @East Carolina W 38 - 21
  • Temple W 3 - 38
  • @Central Florida L 34 - 51
  • Southern Methodist L 37 - 34
  • @Houston L 31 - 49
  • @Southern Miss W 66 - 24
  • Navy L 27 - 24
  • @South Alabama W 27 - 24
W 67% L 33%
6 3
  • Cincinnati L 36 - 33
  • Temple W 13 - 38
  • @Houston W 44 - 21
  • Tulane W 34 - 51
  • @Memphis L 49 - 50
  • Tulsa L 34 - 26
  • @East Carolina W 51 - 28
  • @Georgia Tech W 49 - 21
  • Florida International D 0 - 0
  • @Marshall W 48 - 25

Next Games

  • Memphis(09-28-18) W 24 - 40
  • @South Florida(11-23-18) W 38 - 10

Last Meetings

  • Green Wave @ Knights 34-51
  • Knights @ Green Wave 34-31
  • Green Wave @ Knights 6-37
  • Green Wave @ Knights 0-0
  • Knights @ Green Wave 31-45
  • Green Wave @ Knights 13-20
  • Knights @ Green Wave 61-14
  • Green Wave @ Knights 0-49
  • Knights @ Green Wave 9-10

Last Injuries

Central Florida Knights

  • Randy Charlton

    Undisclosed
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Charlton has missed the last three games due to an unspecified injury, and it remains to be seen if he will take part in Friday's contest against USF.

  • Eric Mitchell

    Personal
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Mitchell has been unavailable for the previous three games due to his role in an off-field incident. It is unclear if he will be permitted to face USF on Friday.

  • Kenny Turnier

    Personal
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Turnier has been held out of the previous three games due to his role in an off-field incident. It has yet to be determined if he will be available against UCF on Friday.

  • Antwan Collier

    Personal
    Ques Fri | questionable

    Collins has missed the previous three games as he is tending to a legal matter, and it remains to be seen if he will take the field against UCF on Friday.

  • Tre'Quan Smith

    Concussion
    Prob Sun | probable

    Smith departed the last game due to a concussion, but he is projected to be cleared in time for Sunday's contest versus the Falcons.

  • Samuel Jackson

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Jackson was absent from the lineup during the previous game with an injury to an unannounced location, and it is up in the air if he will be active Saturday against Cincinnati.

Tulane Green Wave

  • Marvin Moody

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Moody was forced from the previous game due to an unspecified injury, and it is uncertain if he will suit up Saturday against Memphis.

  • Ben Knutson

    Leg
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Knutson left the last game with a left leg injury, and it is unclear if he will play Saturday versus Memphis.

Tulane Green Wave vs. Central Florida Knights

Dillon Gabriel passed for five touchdowns -- including three to wide receiver Marlon Williams -- leading the host UCF to a 51-34 win over the Tulane in an American Athletic Conference game on Saturday afternoon at Orlando, Fla.

The Knights (3-2, 2-2) snapped a two-game losing streak, their longest skid since 2016.

Tulane (2-4, 0-4) lost its third straight game. Tulane is 0-5 all-time at Orlando against UCF.

Gabriel, who entered the game leading the nation in passing yards while at the throttle of the nation's highest-scoring offense, threw for 307 yards and three TDs in the first half. He finished the game by completing 26-of-40 passes for 422 yards.

UCF also got 162 rushing yards and a touchdown from Greg McCrae. Williams caught nine passes for 174 yards.

Michael Pratt, Tulane's first true-freshman starting quarterback since 1975, completed 14-of-24 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception.

Tulane led 14-10 after the first quarter, but that turned out to be the last advantage for the Green Wave.

McRae ran 54 yards on the game's first play from scrimmage, setting up Daniel Obarski's 23-yard field goal.

Tulane took a 7-3 lead on Pratt's 28-yard TD pass to Duece Watts, who caught the ball between two defenders and ran into the end zone.

UCF surged back on top as Gabriel scrambled before firing a 54-yard TD pass to Williams.

Tulane took its final lead on Pratt's 20-yard TD pass into tight coverage to Jha'Quan Jackson.

UCF dominated the second quarter, scoring four touchdowns while holding Tulane scoreless, while taking a 37-14 lead into halftime.

UCF's second-quarter TDs included runs by McCrae (3 yards) and Bentavious Thompson (2 yards), as well as a 4-yard flip from Gabriel to tight end Jake Hescock.

UCF's final score of the half came with just five seconds remaining on a 7-yard pass to Williams.

Tulane opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that included a fourth-down conversion. The drive ended when Stephon Huderson fumbled, but the ball was recovered in the end zone by tight end Tyrick James as UCF's advantage was cut to 37-21.

Tulane never got any closer the rest of the game.

--Field Level Media