Tulane landed at the top of the AAC heap and suffered only two losses, one of which was to UCF. Can the Green Wave deliver payback on Saturday or will the Knights be victorious yet again and claim the conference crown?
UCF Knights vs. Tulane Green Wave
Saturday, December 3, 2022 – 04:00 PM EST at Yulman Stadium
Close Call for Knights
The 22nd-ranked Knights would end their regular season with a trip to Raymond James Stadium, the temporary home of the University of South Florida football program. It was supposed to be a walkover, as the Bulls entered mired in the muck of the AAC with a 1-10 record and were aptly installed as 20-point home underdogs.
For the majority of the game, it looked exactly like the lopsided mismatch most were anticipating with UCF holding a 31-7 lead with just over nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. But the Knights appeared to check out, allowing the Bulls to storm back and outscore the Knights, 32-15, the rest of the way resulting in a 46-39 UCF victory which was good for the Knights but bad for the chalk-eaters who laid the heavy lumber.
Knights’ quarterbacks Mikey Keene and John Rhys Plumlee were surgically efficient, combining for 24-of-29 passing for 202 yards and three touchdowns. However, the thrust of the offense belonged to their relentless rushing attack that tore through the Bulls’ run defense for three touchdowns and 345 yards led by Rhys Plumlee who ended with 133 rushing yards and a pair of end zone scampers.
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- Over is 8-3 in UCF’s last 11 road games
- Over is 7-0 in UCF’s last 7 games on field-turf
- Over is 4-0 in Tulane’s last 4 vs. a team with a winning record
- Over is 5-1 in Tulane’s last 6 games overall
- Over is 5-1 in Tulane’s last 6 conference games
- Over is 4-1 in Tulane’s last 5 games following an ATS win
Green Wave Ends on a High Note
Tulane hit the road for a pivotal battle with the two-time defending AAC champion Cincinnati Bearcats. The winner would get their ticket punched to the conference championship while the loser would be on the outside looking in.
Installed as one-point road chalk, Tulane lost the lead for the first time in the game with six minutes remaining. However, in a drive that took just four plays and lasted a little over a minute, Michael Pratt connected with Duece Watts for a 30-yard touchdown strike, giving the Wave a 27-24 lead and one that they would not surrender.
Michael Pratt was just 13-of-22 passing for 162 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Junior tailback, Tyjae Spears, was a workhorse who rushed for two touchdowns and 181 of the team’s 221 yards.
Tulane coach Willie Fritz said after the game, "I told Tyjae we were going to ride him and we did. I'm proud of the guys and the adversity we went through against one of the best defenses in the country."
Pick and Prediction
UCF has won the last five meetings between these two schools including a 38-31 victory on Tulane’s home turf back on November 12. However, it should also be noted that the Knights are just 2-3 against the number in those contests although they did cover in that November meeting as one-point road dogs.
Speaking of covering, the Green Wave has been nothing but money at the betting windows, going 10-2 ATS as well as 10-2 straight up. Not so surprisingly, the only two games Tulane failed to cover were also the two games they lost, first to Southern Miss and then to UCF.
Who's Going to Cover?
Tulane is being installed as a 3 to 3 ½ point home favorite and I can’t say I am the least bit surprised. The Green Wave has covered seven of their last eight contests and would desperately like to atone for their only blemish during that streak, the loss to UCF.
Conversely, the Knights have not looked sharp down the home stretch of the season, narrowly beating Navy as 14 ½ point home chalk and then allowing USF to close to within seven points in their 46-39 victory but coming up short as 20-point road favorites.
If UCF is allowed to run roughshod as they did in chewing up 336 rushing yards in their first meeting then they win the game, cover the number, and we are out of luck. I highly doubt the Wave will be caught off guard after getting decimated by the Knights’ ground-and-pound game. I expect Tulane to go to the air early and often, making UCF play catch up by switching to their far less lethal aerial attack.
Let’s lay the field goal and go over in this one.
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