Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Weather: 56 degrees. 0% rain chance.
Online: OrlandoSentinel.com/sports/blogs/knights-notepad, @osknights or #osucf
Quick slant: The Knights have a chance to build some momentum as they prepare to move on to the Big East, while the Cardinals hope to win a bowl game for the first time in program history.
About UCF: The memory of its Conference USA championship loss to Tulsa is three weeks old, enough separation for the Knights to bounce back properly against their MAC opponent. Expect the Knights to go after a Ball State defense that struggled this season, perhaps opening up the playbook a bit more.
About Ball State: The Cardinals will be boosted by the return of QB Keith Wenning, who is returning from a fractured ankle. Wenning passed for 2,878 yards and 22 touchdowns this season. Ball State will also lean heavily on RB Jahwan Edwards (1,321 rushing yards).
What to watch:
Spread things out. The Knights could come out with multiple receivers as they try to get game-breaking speed on the field with Rannell Hall, Breshad Perriman and Quincy McDuffie. Ball State gave up 253.9 yards per game through the air this season.
Stay disciplined on defense. Hidden yardage was a term used far too often to describe defensive struggles, and Ball State averages 214.25 rushing yards per game. The Knights have to play assignment football in the front seven and be sound in their tackling.
Win the turnover battle. This has been the major difference-maker all season for UCF, which has a differential of plus-11. Ball State, meanwhile, had to get back to the basics during the bowl break after finishing the season at minus-2 with just 14 takeaways all season long.