NC Football Previews: ECU, App State, Charlotte all hit the road

49ers still looking for first win; Pirates' dead-last scoring defense faces explosive UCF

ECU running back Darius Pinnix carries the ball against Temple Owls at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Oct. 7. (James Guillory / USA TODAY Sports)

East Carolina at Central Florida
Spectrum Stadium, Orlando, Fla.  |  Saturday, 7 p.m.  |  CBSSN

Preview: The Pirates (1-5, 1-2 AAC) will face a nationally ranked opponent for the fifth time in seven games when they travel to Orlando to take on the 21st-ranked Knights (4-0, 2-0) on their homecoming. ECU lost 47-29 in Greenville last year, but leads the all-time series 10-5.

Players to watch: Redshirt freshman LB Aaron Ramseur has been one of the few bright spots for ECU’s defense, recording 11 tackles and an interception in his first career start last week against Temple. UCF WR Tre’Quan Smith had five catches for 165 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday in the Knights’ storm-shortened 51-23 win against Cincinnati.

Fast fact: The Pirates are 15-31 against FBS teams from the state of Florida and have lost seven of their last eight matchups with Sunshine State opponents, with the only win coming at UCF in 2015.

What to expect: ECU, which ranks dead last nationally in scoring defense at 47.8 ppg, will have its hands full against a UCF team that leads the nation at 47.5 points per game.

— Brett Friedlander

Appalachian State at Idaho
Kibbie-Asui Activity Center, Moscow, Idaho  |  Saturday, 5 p.m.  |  ESPN3

Preview: ASU (3-2, 2-0 Sun Belt) rallied from a fourth quarter deficit in a home win for the first time since 2014 last Saturday against New Mexico State. Now the Mountaineers travel three time zones away to Moscow, Idaho, for a conference game against a 2-3 (1-1) Idaho team coming off a loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.

Players to watch: DBs Clifton Duck and Tae Hayes tied a school record by intercepting three passes each in last week’s 45-31 win. The six picks are a school record. Idaho’s Cade Coffey earned a Sun Belt weekly honor after going 3 for 3 on field goals and is averaging 52.3 yards on seven punts in last week’s 21-16 loss to Louisiana.

Fast fact: Taylor Lamb is 30-11 as ASU’s starting quarterback, tying him with D.J. Campbell for the second-most wins in school history. Armanti Edwards won a record 42 games.

What to expect: If the Mountaineers can stay focused on their lengthy road trip, they should be able to take care of business against the Vandals.

— Brett Friedlander

Charlotte at Western Kentucky
Houchens-Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, Ky.  |  Saturday, 4:30 p.m.  |  FloSports

Preview: Charlotte is running out of chances to post its first win of the season, and a road trip to 3-2 Western Kentucky could be an opportunity to get over the hump.

Players to watch: WKU quarterback Mike White rushed for both of the Hilltoppers’ touchdowns last week, while also throwing for 208 yards. He leads CUSA in completion percentage and completions. Charlotte free safety Ben DeLuca had 17 tackles last week in a loss to Marshall, one shy of the school’s single-game record.

Fast fact:  WKU and Charlotte play for the first time. Western Kentucky is 9-2 against first-time opponents since 2013. Charlotte is 6-21 against first-timers over that span, with a four-game losing streak, including losses to Kansas State and NC A&T this year. Charlotte also plays UAB for the first time later this season.

What to expect: The Niners have had some near misses, including losses by one and four points. With a homecoming game against UAB following, a win at WKU could lead to a winning streak.

— Shawn Krest