Central Florida (5-2, 3-0) at Marshall (3-4, 2-1)8 p.m., Joan C. Edwards Stadium (38,019, FieldTurf),HuntingtonTV: CBS Sports Network
Crew: Dave Ryan play-by-play, Corey Chavous analyst, Evan Washburn sidelinesLine: UCF by 2Series: UCF leads 7-3Last meeting: UCF 16, Marshall 6, Oct. 8, 2011 at Orlando, Fla.Tickets: Plenty available, $25-35Weather: 30 percent chance of rain, temperature 49 at kickoff
On the spotMarshall kickoff coverage: Last week Justin Haig booted his 10 kickoffs good height and near-perfect depth, allowing his "missiles" to hold Southern Miss returners inside the 20-yard line. The degree of difficulty goes up tonight, with UCF's Rannell Hall and Quincy McDuffie both very dangerous.Rakeem Cato, Marshall quarterback: Cato, coach Doc Holliday and everybody else in the MU camp insists the sophomore has learned from his sideline eruption at last year's UCF game, and can put his mini-rivalries with the Knights' south Floridians aside. But can he elude Troy Davis coming off the edge and solve a perennially stingy secondary?D.J. Hunter, Marshall linebacker: One gets the feeling UCF respects his lateral speed and would prefer to test the former safety's manhood. One fullback and one pulling guard comin' at ya, D.J.
Stats 'n' such
In the stat rankings: MU is 2nd in the nation in passing offense (390), 4th in total offense (568.43), 5th in net punting (42.39) and 8th in scoring offense (43.14). In C-USA, the Herd leads in those categories plus passing efficiency (149.94); on the other hand, the Herd is last in the league in scoring defense (116th in FBS, 41.57) and sacks (111th, 1.0) . . . UCF leads C-USA in pass efficiency defense (114.84), total defense (352.86), scoring defense (22.0), punt returns (12.67) and pass defense yardage (200.86). The Knights' lowest place is 8th in net punting (36.47).Milestones: Cato is in 10th place in two categories on Marshall's career lists and approaching 10th in three others. He is 10th in passes completed (431), nine behind position coach Tony Petersen, and 10th in touchdown passes (36), one behind Brian Anderson. He is 22 attempts behind No. 10 Stan Hill (676) and a single yard behind No. 10 Hill in passing yards (4,711).The Aaron Dobson/Antavious Wilson watch: Dobson is tied for fifth in touchdown receptions (23), ninth in receiving yards (2,265) and 11th in receptions (155). Wilson is 10th in receptions (156), 12th in yards (2,014) and tied for 17th in TDs (13).
Over-unders5.2 Marshall yards per carry. Don't snicker - in the Knights' last two games, Southern Miss went 5.4 and Memphis 5.3.45% Third-down conversions for either side. That stat could become critical, especially for UCF's bid to keep the Herd off the field. The Knights have held foes to 32 percent; Marshall converts at a remarkable 56 percent.
Completely useless triviaUCF hasn't had a 300-yard passer since Nov. 1, 2009, when Brett Hodges threw for 342 in a 21-20 comeback win over Marshall. Since then, Herd quarterbacks have topped the 300 mark 10 times, including Cato's six this season.NextMarshall stays home to take on Memphis at 2 p.m. next Saturday; UCF returns home to take on Southern Methodist at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.- By Doug Smock