Central Michigan Preview

In his fourth season at Central Michigan (2-5), Mike Debord compiles a career record of 13-35. Debord came to Central Michigan after serving as Michigan Offensive Coordinator from 1997-99. On offense, Central Michigan return nine starters, and welcome back to full health senior running back Terry Jackson (6-0, 235), who in 2001 gained 1,194 yards and was second team All-MAC, but who in 2002 struggled to recover from a broken foot and only gained 399, still team-leading).

Starting quarterback Derrick Vickers (5-11, 195) was replaced at halftime by Grant Arnoldink (6-04, 220) in a 13-31 lost to Toledo.  Against Toledo, Vickers connected on just 2-of-13 passes in the first half while Arnoldink completed 9-of-20 in the second half.  DeBord lists both as the starter and will evaluate each player during practice this week.  "We'll make a decision based on how the quarterbacks perform in practice," DeBord said. "Kent Smith (Toledo, Ohio/Start) will also be in the mix this week."  The strength of the offense is the line, which returns all five starters including preseason All-MAC pick OL Derek McLaughlin (6-5, 315). On defense there are a new coordinator and six returning starters, including two preseason All-MAC picks, junior safety James King (6-1, 215) and senior DE Matt Wohlgemuth (6-5, 265). 


UCF Offense vs. Central Michigan's Defense

Central Michigan has a new defensive coordinator, and they will be well prepared.  In the first quarter Central Michigan will show UCF some new things, and so UCF's offensive line has to pick up blitzes so Ryan Schneider can adjust to what Central Michigan is doing.  UCF will try to give Central Michigan a lot of difference looks with Schneider back in the driver seat.  Schneider still bothers by soreness in his shoulder and don't be surprise if Jon Rivera enters the game.  Up front, the Knights' O-line should be able to handle the Chippewas defensive front seven.  UCF's ground game must kick in high rear in this game.  Expect a good game from Dontavius Wilcox who might take over the TB position from Alex Haynes, injured, on Saturday if he's not available.  Junior tailback Alex Haynes returned to practice from a groin injury on Wednesday and is listed as probable for Saturday's contest.  If Central Michigan tie up the gaps and slow the running game down, UCF will have a hard time executing its passing game.  And if they can do that, they'll have a chance because the jury is still out on UCF's passing game all season.  UCF front line must keep Chippewas senior defensive end Matt Wohlgemuth in check.  He's too good of a player to let him running loose.  By the number, Central Michigan defense give up 509.43 yards per game.


UCF Defense vs. Central Michigan Offense

Central Michigan offense will come in with no huddle and run the spread.  The Chippewas look most like every team in the "new MAC".  We'll see 3, 4, 5 wideouts on every play.  This puts UCF's cornerbacks in a familiar position.  Central Michigan will utilize their tight ends in the offense.  They will throw it around with a slow passing attack, and move the ball down the field.  The strength of Central Michigan offense is the line.  The Chippewas have all five starters returning, including two big 6-7 offensive tackles, Adam Keift, and Jeff Jenerou.  At running back, Terry Jackson was a 1000 yard rusher two years ago and he is capable to repeat that performance again this year.  Jackson average 4.1 yards per carry and 93.2 yards per game.  Chippewas' other running back, Jerry Seymour, is questionable for the game.  To win this game, UCF defensive players must contain CMU's quarterback.  The number one key defensively will be to get to the quarterback, and knock some passes down.  UCF still have not had an interception through seven games.  This game is a chance for the Knights to change that drought.  By the number, Central Michigan rushes an average of 181.14 yards per game and passing for 173.86 yards per game.   


Special Teams

Central Michigan special teams have been very good.  The Chippewas special teams have an average of 18.56 yards per game in kickoff returns.  CMU punter, Brian Brandt has average of 41.05 yards per punt which is just behind UCF punter, Matt Prater, 47.42 yards per game.  The bright spot of this season so far for UCF has been the special teams.  UCF should not have any problem handling the Chippewas.


Overall and Prediction

Although Central Michigan two wins were over D-IAA teams, New Hampshire and Eastern Kentucky, they're capable to put up points on the board.  Expect UCF to pound the ball, and then to mix it up with passes to tight ends and to the wideouts. Mistakes will happen and for UCF, turnovers need to lead to scores.  We just have to cross our fingers that UCF make the least mistakes, and capitalizing on the Chippewas' mistakes.  Saturday's homecoming game will also feature Miss America, UCF's own Erika Dunlap, as she will sing the National Anthem.  Hopefully, her voice will inspire the Knights to victory.

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