UCF: What to Look For

What should you expect in UCF's game against Southern Miss on Saturday? Inside Knights gives you a cheat sheet of what to look for in a big road game for UCF.

Keys to the Game for the Knights

1. Develop momentum on offense early- It took too long for the Knights to get into a rhythm against Samford last week and it almost cost the Knights the game. This week, UCF has to get things going on the ground and through the air in the first quarter if the team wants to win on the road.

2. Get pressure with the front four- This is something you'd like to see every game but it's vital to UCF's success against the Golden Eagles. If Austin Davis can sit in the pocket for more than three seconds, he will pick the Knights apart. Bruce Miller and Jarvis Geathers must be explosive off the edge but at the same time they'll have to worry about not over pursuing, as Davis is a threat to take off and make a big play with his feet.

3. Take advantage of good field position- UCF had plenty of drives start in Samford territory last week but the offense struggled to get points on the board at times. If the Knights think they can leave 17 points on the board this week and still get a win they are sadly mistaken. George O'Leary acknowledged this and turnover problems should be resolved. Now the team needs to hope that the kicking woes are through as well.

4. Keep Southern Miss in second and long situations- This basically means makes the Golden Eagles one dimensional and doing that will help the ends with the second key to the game (getting pressure.) Torrell Troup and Travis Timmons need to clog the middle and keep Southern Miss from picking up four or five yards on first downs. This will make Southern Miss a little more predictable and will help an inexperienced secondary.

5.) Brynn be Brynn- The Brynn Harvey that UCF fans saw at the end of last season and all through the offseason was absent last week. He didn't have a bad game but he missed a few cuts that would have led to longer gains. Also, he very rarely got more than what the offensive line gave him and that's the difference between a good back and a great back.

What to Look For

1. Look for a more fluid UCF team- Last week the Knights came out and played tight. They were nervous and it really hurt them on offense. The Knights will now have the opening day jitters behind them and they won't be playing scared. On the road as 14-point under dogs, the Knights will have nothing to lose and that can only help them.

2. Look for dueling quarterbacks…again- If you're a UCF fan, you probably should hope you never see Brett Hodges because that will mean Rob Calabrese is playing great. If you see Hodges come in again this week and play like he did against Samford, it might be tough to keep him on the sidelines.

3. Look for more Moose- Steve Robinson was bumped down to number two on the depth chart in place of the more experienced Cliff McCray. The senior gave up a sack against Samford and wasn't dominant in the run game, so the highly-touted freshman might get the starting nod.

4. Look for Southern Miss to test UCF's depth- College basketball teams that love to press and push the ball call their style of play "40 minutes of hell." Well Southern Miss buys into a similar theory on the football field and you might as well call it one hour in hell. The Golden Eagles have an undersized but deep and speedy defense and a fast-paced, no huddle, spread offense. They will try to gain momentum and wear out UCF. The Knights' depth, especially on defense, will be tested in this one.

5. Look for DeAndre Brown- He's going to play, he's not going play. Back and forth the DeAndre Brown saga has gone since he broke his leg last winter. He originally was progressing ahead of schedule, then he fell behind after hurting his leg playing basketball. Now the word is that the dynamic receiver is ready to go this weekend and if that's the case, that will give UCF's secondary a nice challenge early on this season.

Predictions

1. UCF will beat the spread- We won't go as far to predict a victory just yet, but the Knights should stay within two touchdowns. As long as the team doesn't get off to a slow start, they will hang in there against a good Southern Miss team.

2. The Knights will force a turnover- The Knights had two turnovers that essentially resulted in a 14-point swing last week and Samford didn't give the ball away once. UCF will have to be more aggressive this week and that should lead to a Southern Miss miscue, if not several miscues.

3. Rob Calabrese quiets his doubters- Will he light it up? Probably not, but Calabrese will have a better performance than last week and his versatility might give the Knights a chance to pull off the upset.

4. UCF gets to the quarterback- Jarvis Geathers, the walking sack machine, will churn out another one and will apply plenty of pressure. Bruce Miller should also get a few looks at Davis but the team will have to get in the backfield consistently to slow down the Eagles.

5. UCF is outgained on offense by at least 100 yards- That doesn't mean a loss but the Knights will have to win the game on special teams and getting good field position because the Golden Eagles will march the ball down the field at least several times in the game. If UCF can force turnovers and not give up touchdowns when Southern Miss gets into the red zone, then the offense can go at its own leisure.


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