College Football
Preview
Central Florida vs Arkansas State
When: 5:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 17, 2016
Where: Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida



AUTONATION CURE BOWL STORYLINES

1. Arkansas State and Central Florida both made major turnarounds to arrive at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. for the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 17. UCF went 0-12 in 2015 but won six of its first 10 games this season under first-year coach Scott Frost before losing to Tulsa and South Florida. Meanwhile, the Red Wolves began the season 0-4, including a 51-14 loss to Auburn, before winning seven of their last eight to gain a share of their fifth Sun Belt Conference title in six years.

2. The teams are led by their defenses, which both rank in the top 50 in yards allowed per game and are among the top 15 in sacks. The Knights allowed a total of nine points to American Athletic Conference rivals Tulane and Cincinnati in the first two games of November and are led by linebacker Shaquem Griffin (85 tackles, 11 sacks). Arkansas State has allowed an average of 13.7 points over its last seven contests while defensive ends Chris Odom and Ja’Von Rolland-Jones have combined for 24 sacks.

3. Arkansas State starts a sophomore quarterback in Justice Hansen while UCF is led by freshman signal-caller McKenzie Milton - and each has had his moments. Milton, who played in nine of the last 10 games after taking over for senior Justin Holman, is averaging almost 201 yards through the air with nine touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Hansen did not open the season as the starter but has thrown for 2,514 yards with 16 TDs and eight interceptions – 10 and two, respectively, in the last six games.

TV: 5:30 p.m. ET, CBSSN. LINE: Central Florida –5.5

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (6-6, 4-4 AAC East): The Knights return to the postseason for the first time since losing to North Carolina State 34-27 in the 2014 St. Petersburg Bowl, dropping to 3-4 in the program’s history that includes a 2013 Fiesta Bowl triumph over Baylor. Milton has thrown for 458 yards in his last two games and has one premier target in sophomore Tre'Quan Smith, who has made 54 receptions for 808 yards along with five touchdowns. UCF is 96th in the nation in rushing (151.9 yards), with freshman Jawon Hamilton (481, four TDs) and senior Dontravious Wilson (463, eight) leading the way.

ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE (7-5, 7-1 Sun Belt):
Hansen has a variety of weapons at his disposal as five receivers have accumulated 300 yards, including tight end Blake Mack (33 catches, 585 yards, three touchdowns) and senior wideout Kendall Sanders (33, 426, four). Running back Warren Wand has recorded 867 yards and seven scores on the ground for the Red Wolves, who are 2-4 in bowl games as they prepare for their sixth in a row. The defense (374.5 yards allowed) has had several contributors, including senior linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster (team-leading 88 tackles).



PREDICTION: UCF 27, Arkansas State 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Central Florida 6-6 L2 30.1 24.1 3-3 3-3 5-4 0-1 4-4
Arkansas State 7-5 W1 27.0 22.2 4-2 3-3 0-1 1-1 7-1
Last Meeting
Central Florida Arkansas State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/5/91 UCF 31 ARST 20 0 0 0 0 0 0
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida N/A
Arkansas State N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida N/A
Arkansas State N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida N/A
Arkansas State N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida N/A
Arkansas State N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida M. Milton 57.9 1808 9 7
Arkansas State J. Hansen 58.9 2514 16 8
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida J. Hamilton 129 481 3.7 4
Arkansas State W. Wand 185 867 4.7 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida T. Smith 54 808 15.0 6
Arkansas State B. Mack 33 585 17.7 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida D. Wilson 9
Arkansas State W. Wand 10
Quickchart Matchup
Central Florida Central Florida Off vs  Arkansas State Arkansas State Def
Central Florida 361.5 yards
Arkansas State 374.5 yards
Central Florida 3.7 yards/rush
Arkansas State 3.8 yards/rush
Central Florida 6.3 yards/attempt
Arkansas State 7 yards/attempt
Arkansas State Arkansas State Off vs  Central Florida Central Florida Def
Arkansas State 391.5 yards
Central Florida 381.7 yards
Arkansas State 3.7 yards/rush
Central Florida 4 yards/rush
Arkansas State 7.8 yards/attempt
Central Florida 5.9 yards/attempt