Final Game Preview: UCF at UTEP

The five most important things for UCF as they take on the UTEP Miners in El Paso, TX and what to look for in the matchup.

UCF Knights vs. UTEP Miners
Saturday, September 27th, 2008, 8:00 p.m.
Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX.

2008 records: UCF - 1-2, UTEP - 0-3
Series history: UCF leads 1-0
Last meeting: UCF defeated UTEP 36-20

Five most important things for UCF:


1. Prove they can run. If they can't run on UTEP this is going to be a long season. With the Miners running a 3-3-5 D, running room should be there.

2. Contain on D.
With James Thomas II likely to start, UTEP is going to look to run early and often and give the Knights plenty of different looks. The Knights will need to stay and their lanes and focus on their assignments.

3. Finish drives. Last week proved that if you can't get in the end zone, your probably not going to win games against solid opponents. Although UTEP may not be considered a solid opponent, they are playing at home and easy missed field goals will be a lift to their team. The Knights need to display some dominance and score touchdowns.

4. Make some big plays.
This team seems to struggle with sustaining long drives, so some big plays on defense, special teams, or offense will be needed to get the Knights going.

5. Quiet the crowd. UTEP has one of the best home field advantages in Conference USA, the Knights need to grab an early lead to keep the crowd out of this one.

What to look for:

1. Look for the winning team to have over 200 yards rushing. Both teams want to run the ball, and must if they're going to win the game.

2. Look for the Knights to play two QB's. True freshman Rob Calabrese continues to get reps and will see the field in certain packages.

3. Look for special teams to make a big difference. This one goes for every game, be it a positive in great returning by 'Smokin' Joe Burnett, or a negative in inconsistent field goals and long snapping, special teams play will be important for the Knights.

4. Look for the Knights to score 3 or more Td's on offense. Something they couldn't even do against a FCS team, but UTEP's defense has been sieve like, and UCF gets a healthy Kamar Aiken back, as well as introducing Richard Jackson into the offense in a larger role should provide more offense.

5. Look for a much cleaner game by the Knights. Previous games have been marred by giving up big play, terrible penalties, and turnovers. Look for this game to go a lot smoother for the Knights.


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