- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

No. 19 East Carolina (4-1, 1-0 American) at South Florida (2-3, 1-0), 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)

Line: East Carolina by 15

Series Record: South Florida leads 4-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

In addition to aiming for a 2-0 league start in its first season in the American Athletic Conference, East Carolina is looking for its first victory over South Florida, which has won the four previous four meetings. USF is coming off a bye following a road loss at Wisconsin and hoping to begin conference play with consecutive victories for the second straight season.

KEY MATCHUP

East Carolina career passing leader Shane Carden against a USF defense that has four interceptions and forced 12 turnovers overall. The Pirates are averaging a conference-leading 581.1 yards and 43.6 points per game, making them a tough matchup for any opponent, let alone South Florida, which has struggled to move the ball consistently in two seasons under coach Willie Taggart. The Bulls offense was on the field for less than 20 minutes against Wisconsin, including just 39 seconds in the fourth quarter.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

East Carolina: WR Justin Hardy has caught at least two passes in 41 consecutive games and has 37 receptions for 479 yards and five TDs this season to move within 47 catches of the NCAA Division I-A career mark of 349 held by Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles. RB Breon Allen is averaging 8.8 yards per carry rushing.

South Florida: Freshman RB Marlon Mack leads the AAC in rushing, averaging 107.2 yards per game. The Bulls also are hoping for a lift from WR Andre Davis, who has missed the past four games with a bruised sternum. Davis is within 14 receptions and 62 yards receiving of become the school’s career leader in both categories. He’s caught a pass in a school-record 31 straight games. He was injured on his only reception this year - a 44-yarder in the season opener against Western Carolina.

FACTS & FIGURES

It’s the first meeting between the schools since the Bulls’ 24-7 victory in the 2006 Papajohns.com Bowl. … East Carolina moved into The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since 2008 after beating Virginia Tech (28-21) on the road and North Carolina (70-41) at home. … USF has lost its last seven games coming off a bye week.

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