UCF vs SMU Game Preview

A look ahead to the matchup between SMU and UCF at Brighthouse Networks Stadium

SMU Mustangs at UCF Knights
Saturday, October 4th, 2008, 3:30 p.m.
Brighthouse Networks Stadium, Orlando, FL


2008 records: SMU- 1-4, UCF- 1-3

Series history: UCF 1-0

SMU Offense

Like any June Jones coached team, the Mustangs will air it out. SMU has fewer than 80 carries in five games this season, and Jones' spread out offensive scheme has enabled SMU to throw for 276 yards per game, which is 20th in the country.

Bo Levi Mitchell, a freshman quarterback, has shown glimpses at times but has generally struggled to find consistency early in his career. Mitchell has thrown 12 touchdowns but also has as many interceptions, and is completing 56% of his passes thus far.

SMU's running backs are basically a non-factor, with DeMyron Martin leading the way with 31 rushes for 134 yards.

The Mustangs are quite dynamic at receiver, with the talented Emmanuel Sanders and Aldrick Robinson leading the way. Sanders has accumulated 561 receiving yards on the year and is fourth in the nation with 112 yards per game. Robinson is also putting up some gaudy numbers, totaling 446 yards and six touchdowns. Both receivers are a little undersized, but have excellent quickness and will certainly be part of the game plan against UCF.

SMU has undersized linemen that are built for pass protection. The heaviest starting lineman weighs 281 lbs., but they are all quick.

Best offensive matchup for SMU: Sanders and Robinson vs. UCF's secondary- The Mustangs have plenty of talent at the receiver position and UCF's secondary will have its hands full. The Knights have been susceptible to long passes recently, so expect the pass happy Mustangs to test UCF downfield.

Best defensive matchup for UCF: UCF's line vs. SMU's line- When push comes to shove, UCF should have SMU beat here. The Knights have a big front four and expect for Coach George O'Leary to rely on the linemen alone to cause havoc. UCF's ends haven't been as effective as a year ago, but this is a great game to begin some 2008 dominance.

SMU Defense

The Mustangs run a base 4-3 and will rely on speed to make plays. Opponents have run wild on SMU, as the Mustangs have given up 5.4 yards per carry and 1112 yards total. Up front, SMU is small, with Serge Elizee being the only player that provides adequate size in the middle. He has accumulated 23 tackles on the season and has done a good job of clogging the middle. End Youri Yenga has been disruptive for opponents this year, logging 3.5 sacks already, using his quickness to get around the edge.

Middle linebacker Justin Smart has 38 tackles on the year, and fellow backer Pete Fleps isn't too far behind with 35. Both are solid players, but they haven't made enough plays behind the line of scrimmage and seem a little hesitant at times.

The secondary has had problems this season as well, as free safety Tyler Jones and cornerback Derrius Bell are third and fourth on the team in tackles. When defensive backs are getting that many tackles, that means people are getting open, and the SMU secondary isn't making plays, as they have had just three interceptions all season, one of those coming from Smart.

Best defensive matchup for SMU: SMU ends vs. UCF's quarterback-Whoever lines up at QB for UCF, they must be aware. SMU's ends aren't big, but on obvious passing downs they can create pressure.

Best offensive matchup for UCF:  line vs. line- UCF should be able to open holes against a smaller SMU front.


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