Tough Task Ahead for UCF

The UCF Knights will board a plane and head to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts intent on defeating an ACC foe for the second consecutive season and gaining some of the national respect that slipped through their hands as they lost a heartbreaker to the current #12 team in the nation, the USF Bulls.

"We're looking to build momentum going in to conference play here, we know we have our work cut out with a great ACC team," said senior safety Jason Venson. "Last year we beat an ACC team, but that's out of the way, and it's a new B.C. team that we have to take care of. We're just excited to the opportunity to go up there and play against a great ACC team."

The Knights currently sit as 10.5 point underdogs, and they will be at a pretty significant size disadvantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

"They have those two guys inside that are very good football players, and all their linebackers are back," said UCF head coach George O'Leary. "We're going to go into the game and we're not going to change. We're going to take what the defense can give us."

Those two guys that coach O'Leary was referring to are 6'3", 324 lb. Ron Brace, and 6'1", 323 lb. B.J. Raji, who are two standout defensive tackles for the Eagles. Brace and Raji clog up the middle, and have combined for 16 tackles, four of which being behind the line of scrimmage. The UCF offensive line is going to have to move these NFL size tackles off the ball if they're going to have any success on the ground.

"They do have two big guys inside, and that's going to be on me as the center, and the guards," said UCF center Mike LaVoie. "We have to get movement off the ball, if we don't get that movement than we can't run the ball and we have to run the ball to be effective."

This likely would've been a more attractive matchup a year ago in terms of star power, as each program lost a key contributor. The Eagles lost quarterback Matt Ryan, who's currently starting for the Atlanta Falcons, and the Knights lost running back Kevin Smith, who is the Detroit Lions starter.

"Any time you lose a guy of that caliber, it changes the dynamics of your offense," said B.C. head coach Jeff Jagodzinski. "I'm glad he's gone, to tell you the truth, but they've got a lot of speed on that football team, as all Florida teams do."

Trying to fill the enormous shoes left by Matt Ryan is current B.C. starting quarterback Chris Crane. The 6'4", 239 lb. senior has completed 30 of 53 passes for 248 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT's.

"Chris Crane runs the offense pretty well," said safety Jason Venson. "He has two backs he can hand it off to and go the distance every time and their receivers are very good. They are big receivers that can get down the field and run precise routes, so we have to take care of business on that side of the ball."

Boston College could throw UCF's defense a curveball and play redshirt freshman Dominique Davis from time to time at quarterback. Davis is a more mobile threat than the starter Chris Crane.

"We're going to take a look at that and see how he progresses," said B.C. head coach Jeff Jagodzinski. "I thought he got better last week. We're going to see how he progresses this week in practice and take it from there."

Regardless of who takes snaps for Boston College, UCF is going to have to play a much better fundamental game than they did two weeks ago, as they missed several tackles, and racked up nearly 150 penalty yards if they want to pull an upset.

"I try to always schedule up if we can," said coach O'Leary. "I think the kids understand that it is a big non-conference game against a very good opponent."

"Your out of conference schedule is always how you get respect from other teams, so it's always big to win your out of conference games," said Mike LaVoie.

The Knights will certainly be able to earn respect if they can win in a very unfriendly place on Saturday.


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