True Road Test: UCF vs. ECU Impact Players

UCF will travel into Greenville, N.C. for its first true road game of the season against ECU on Saturday. The Knights have won six consecutive games against the Pirates but the program series is tied 10-10 between the two with UCF moving on to the Big 12 next season. 

The Knights (5-1, 2-0 AAC) dominated the Temple Owls last week, recording over 700 total yards of offense while quarterback John Rhys Plumlee tied the program record with seven total touchdowns. UCF is fifth nationally in total offense (525.2) and scoring 41.3 points per game while the defense hasn’t allowed more than 20 points in a game this season.

For ECU, the Pirates are 4-3 on the season, including a 2-2 mark in American Athletic Conference play. ECU enters the matchup with high energy after its longest game in program history last week in a four-overtime victory over Memphis, 47-45. 

The Pirates lead the series 6-5 in Greenville, but UCF has won the last four meetings at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Knight Nation should expect ECU to give it all they have in what could be the final regular season game between the two programs for some time. 

“Going on the road against a good East Carolina team,” UCF head coach Gus Malzahn said. “They had a big overtime win against Memphis on Saturday night. It will be our second road game. First conference road game. It’s going to be a really good environment. We’re looking forward to playing them.”

UCF KnightLight Players

John Rhys Plumlee | QB1

Stats: 107/168 | 1516 passing yards | 11 TD | 3 INT  | 87 rushing attempts |  468 rushing yards | 7 TD 

*Last week: 18/22, 373 yards, 4 TD | 7 rushes, 37 yards, 3 TD

Ryan O’Keefe | WR

Stats: 28 receptions | 364 receiving yards | 4 TD

*Last week: 7 receptions, 111 yards, 2 TD

Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste  | LB

Stats: 29 solo tackles | 32 total | 4.5 TFL | 1 sack | 2 BU | 1 FF

*Last week: 4 total tackles 


ECU Impact Players

ECU is led by veteran quarterback Holton Ahlers who became the AAC’s career-passing yards record holder with more than 12,000 over the course of five seasons. Through 7 games this year, Ahlers has recorded 2,124 yards and 17 touchdowns, marks that lead the conference.

Keaton Mitchell leads the ECU rushing attack with 6.8 yards per carry, good enough for No.8 in the country. Mitchell has recorded 582 total yards this season with 97 yards per game. The passing attack features a trio of Isaiah Winstead (719), C.J. Johnson (517) and Ryan Jones (317). 

For ECU’s defense, safety Gerard Stringer leads the team with 40 total tackles with four tackles for loss and one sack. Julius Wood earned AAC Defensive Player of the Week accolades after returning an interception for a touchdown and logging a career-high 11 tackles (six solo). 

Holton Ahlers | QB

Stats: 178 / 260 | 2124 passing yards | 17 TD | 5 INT 

Keaton Mitchell | RB

Stats: 85 rush attempts | 582 yards | 6 TD 

Jeremey Lewis | LB 

Stats: 34 total tackles | 4.5 TFL | 2.5 sacks | 3 QH

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