Final Game Preview: UCF vs USF

The five most important things for UCF against USF and what to look for in the game.

University of South Florida Bulls vs. University of Central Florida Knights
Saturday, September 6th, 2008, 7:00 p.m.
Bright House Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL

2008 records: USF - 1-0, UCF- 1-0

Series history:
USF leads 3-0. Last season: USF won, 64-12

Five most important things for UCF:

1. Get started early. Last year's game was seemingly over before it started, and the Knights have to get on the scoreboard early to avoid a similar fate. If UCF can get an early lead, they can benefit from the energy of a raucous Bright House Networks crowd.

2. Contain Matt Grothe.
Although Grothe is a solid passer, the real damage comes when he's running the ball in the Bulls spread offense. If the Knights linebackers and ends can take that aspect away, they can force him to be a one-dimensional passer and that they'll take their chances with.

3. Shut out George Selvie. The talented defensive end of the Bulls is a game-changer on defense, and if Pat Brown and the Knights offensive line can neutralize Selvie, they have a shot for success.

4. Make it a sloppy, ugly game. The weather may assist the Knights in this aspect. The sloppier the game gets, the more it plays into the hands of the less talented Knights. Since UCF has showed themselves to be pretty one-dimensional on offense, bad weather will help the Knights.

5. Relish the opportunity.
This is the last time the UCF seniors will play USF, and it may be the last time UCF will see their neighbors from the southwest for some time as they series is scheduled to end after Saturday night. There aren't too many opportunities for second chances in life, and the Knights have a great one. Everyone remembers the 64-12 beat-down at the hands of the Bulls, and the only way to get revenge is on the field Saturday.

What to look for:

1. Look for an energized Bright House Networks Stadium crowd. The UCF fans want some desperate revenge against USF, and they will try to give the home team momentum every step of the way.

2. Look for 4+ turnovers. With the secondary the UCF possesses, and the inexperience of quarterback Mike Greco, turnovers will likely be a trend Saturday night. Both teams will combine for at least four miscues.

3. Look for special teams to make a big difference. If the Knights have an advantage in one of the three phases, it's special teams. If UCF doesn't get a big return from Joe Burnett, and some consistent kicking by Daren Daly, they don't have much of a chance.

4. Look for some trick plays from the Knights. Coach O'Leary has shown his disdain for trick plays in the past, but trick plays are usually a part of the game plan for a team with less talent than the opponent, which is the very situation the Knights are in. Look for a reverse, a flea-flicker, or some kind trickery.

5. Look for the winning team to have a 2:1 run to pass ratio.
The outcome of this game will be determined by whichever team runs the ball best and controls the clock and line of scrimmage. Since neither team is known for their big play ability through the air, both coaches will concentrate on running the football.

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