UCF Knights at Memphis Tigers

UCF travels to Memphis to take on the Tigers. Memphis has been bitten just as hard by the injury bug as UCF has, but Memphis is still in the hunt for the East Division title, so the Knights will look to play spoiler again this week after handing Marshall a defeat during the Thundering Herd's homecoming.

UCF Knights vs. Memphis Tigers
Saturday, November 22nd, 2008 2:00 p.m. EST
Records: UCF 3-7, Memphis 5-5
UCF leads series 3-1.

Memphis offense- 20th overall (29th passing, 23rd rushing); Scoring- 50th- 27.3 ppg. vs. UCF defense- 43rd overall (64th passing, 42nd rushing); Scoring- 66th- 25.3 ppg.

Injuries have devastated the quarterback position for the Tigers. Memphis has had nine players attempt a pass this season. Tyler Bass, a highly touted freshman, was hurt in late October, adding to the Tigers' list of injured QBs. Arkelon Hall was the team's starter for most of the season, but he too went down with an injury in October.

Brett Toney will likely take over the starting job this week for Memphis. The junior quarterback has been asked to just manage games for Memphis and has basically done so in three games, throwing three touchdowns and two picks.

Toney's main responsibility will be to hand the ball off to Curtis Steele, a talented junior back. The junior college transfer has done more than adjust to the next level, rushing for 1,002 yards while getting 6.0 per carry. Brandon Ross, a true freshman, has been a nice complement, averaging 5.8 yards per attempt.

UCF's front seven has been stellar the past several weeks, especially amongst the defensive line. Torrell Troup might be the most dominant player in the conference, as he has been nearly unstoppable the past several weeks. Memphis has an undersized offensive line, so expect Troup to double teamed early and often.

Memphis has a fairly deep group of receivers with five receivers over 200 receiving yards. Carlos Singleton is a monstrous receiver, standing at 6'8". Singleton has 740 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Maurice Jones, who has over 400 receiving yards, also is a big target at 6'4".

Best offensive matchup for Memphis: Steele vs. UCF's linebackers- Backers are always asked to fill their holes and not let running backs spring for big plays, but that is definitely the case against the physical Steele. If he can get to the second level, he can pile up the yards.

Best defensive matchup for UCF: defensive line vs. offensive line- Troup, Bruce Miller and Jarvis Geathers will be too much for an undersized Memphis line. If they play their assignments they can dominate.

UCF offense- 119th overall (113th passing, 93rd rushing); Scoring- 114th- 17.1 ppg. vs. Memphis defense- 69th overall (62nd passing, 82nd rushing); Scoring- 81st- 27.8 ppg.

The Tigers have averaged 27.3 points per game on offense but have also given up as many and have only allowed less than 30 points on four occasions.

Playmakers have been few and far between for Memphis, but one constant has been defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. The senior tackle isn't massive at 6'3", 285 lbs. but he is surprisingly quick. On the year, McDonald has logged seven sacks.

Other than McDonald, Memphis' defense has been pedestrian at best. The Tigers' leading tackler is Alton Starr, a strong safety who has just one interception. In fact, Memphis has forced just a lowly five interceptions this season.

Middle linebacker Jeremy Longstreet is the team's second leading tackler and is expected to start the game from the bench. Longstreet is averaging six tackles per game, which is 25th in the conference.

The Knights have been showing signs of improvement on offense the past several weeks, as Rob Calabrese has been making the right reads, Brynn Harvey has been making the right cuts and the line has been making steady improvements as well. The receivers are getting open but aren't catching the ball.

Best offensive matchup for UCF: Brynn Harvey vs. Memphis' front seven- If Harvey is given room he can make some big plays. UCF's line has been getting better and better, so there is a chance Harvey can run wild.

Best defensive matchup for Memphis: McDonald vs. UCF's inside three- The Knights must get a handle on McDonald or he can wreak havoc in the backfield.

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