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UCF Knights vs Maryland Terrapins: Preview, Betting Line, Start Time, TV, Prediction

How will the Knights fare against a Terrapins team that looks better than expected this season?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Start Time: Saturday, September 17 at 7:00 PM.

Location: Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL

TV/Streaming: CBS Sports Network

Radio/Live Stats: 96.9 FM and 740 AM for radio. Live stats will be over here.

Betting Line: Depending on where you look, the Terps are an 8.5 to 9 point favorite.

Records: UCF is 1-1 while the Terps are 2-0. Neither team has played a conference game, though oddly enough the Knights have played a Big 10 team already.

All-Time Series: It's the first meeting of the teams in football.

UCF Outlook: The Knights have started the season with a home shutout of South Carolina State and a thumping at the hands of an excellent Michigan team in Ann Arbor. And while a 51-14 beating can never be called a moral victory, there were some positives to take away. UCF's rushing attack performed well against Michigan. The Knights had a number of explosive plays in the running game, highlighted by freshman running back Adrian Killins's lightning fast 87 yard touchdown.

UCF will need the running game to stay sharp against Maryland. The Terps defense looked questionable in giving up 202 yards on 40 carries (5.05 YPC), including a long run of 55 yards to FIU running back Alex Gardner. If the Knights can build on their successes running the football last week, it will go a long way towards winning the game.

But the quarterback play has just got to be better. It was uninspiring against an FBS defense in Week 1 (Holman had a remarkably poor first half) and both Holman and Patti looked utterly overmatched against Michigan. They combined to go a mere 6/22 for 56 yards. That's just not going to cut it.

It also remains to be seen just who will take the field for the Knights on Saturday. Holman appeared to injure his hamstring after a long run against Michigan, went into the locker room, and eventually returned to the sideline but not the game. UCF Head Coach Scott Frost doesn't talk about injuries, but video this week appeared to show Holman practicing. Given his history of looking bad when not 100%, Holman may wind up being a dicey choice this weekend.

If the Knights win here, it means Frost has the UCF rebuild substantially ahead of schedule.

Maryland Outlook: Speaking of being ahead of schedule, that's exactly where Head Coach D.J. Durkin has the Maryland Terrapins. Durkin's head coaching record at Maryland is a perfect 2-0,[1] with blowouts of Howard and FIU. Durkin has a great track record as an assistant coach, overseeing great defenses at Michigan last year and Florida before that. He also oversaw some excellent special teams play at Florida. The success seems to be translating to his head coaching tenure thus far.

The Terps are looking sharp and executing well. Maryland hasn't turned the ball over yet -€” a huge improvement from a three win 2015 campaign in which the Terps threw and FBS-leading 29 interceptions.

Quarterback Perry Hills (who threw 13 of Maryland's interceptions last year) has looked much improved so far. Against FIU, he was 13/18 for 210 yards and three touchdowns. If the Knights load the box to stop what has been an excellent Maryland run game (as the Knights did against Michigan to great effect), expect Hills to have opportunities in the passing game.

Prediction: I had this pegged as a potential UCF win before the season. Seeing where Maryland is now however makes me less bullish. I'm concerned about UCF's play at quarterback and am a skeptic regarding the Knights' pass coverage. I give the edge to Maryland, whom I predict to win - by more than the 8.5 or 9 points Vegas would think.

For more on UCF vs. Maryland, check out our Q&A with Maryland blog Testudo Times.



[1] And 3-0 overall, thanks to leading the Gators to a bowl win over ECU as interim head coach.