UCF Knights (5-3) vs. #2 Texas Longhorns (8-0)
Saturday, November 7, 2009, 12:00 EST
Kickoff Temperature: 71 degrees, clear
Line: Texas by 34
Keys to the Game for the Knights:
Don't get intimidated. Easier said that done, but the Knights have to maintain composure in enemy territory like they've never seen, with 101,000 in attendance. A solid start is a must for UCF or else this one could be over before halftime.
No big plays. Texas is certainly a quick strike offense, and Jordan Shipley is having as good of a year as any receiver in the nation. UCF must force Texas to go down the field methodically and not pick up yardage in bunches.
Be physical/Make it ugly. Texas has the advantage at every skill position, so the Knights have to make it an ugly affair in the trenches. They are bigger and faster, but are they tougher? That's the question UCF needs to answer.
Play perfect special teams. No bad snaps, no missed field goals, most importantly no big returns for Shipley.
Play with a chip on your shoulder. This is a game in which Texas already has marked as a "W". These guys are the same age, maybe just a little bigger, and maybe just a little faster. Do the Knights want to be an afterthought on the way to a Longhorns national championship or do they want to be one of the teams that put a scare into the mighty ‘Horns?
What to look for:
Look for 350+ yards for Colt McCoy. It is important for Texas not only to win in impressive fashion, but propel Colt McCoy toward the Heisman Trophy. A young secondary with poor ball skills should allow the quarterback to have a field day. 100+ for Fozzy. UT running back Fozzy Whitaker is quick and powerful and the Knights will likely have to drop six or seven into coverage which will open up some big gains for Whitaker.
Look for a big game from Torrell Troup. At UCF, we've come to expect this from Troup as he's one of the best defensive tackles in the country.
Look for Troup to suck up blocks up front.
Look for Shipley to score twice. Jordan Shipley looks like a faster Wes Welker on the field, and he should have no problem against the Knights' secondary.
Look for the opening two possessions to determine the game. UCF will hang tough if they can get some early positive momentum which will take some of the crowd out of it. If things go bad early, it can have a snowball effect.
Texas will not try any trick plays. The Knights have defended the gadget play well over the last few games and the ‘Horns will likely stay away from them.
UCF will have to throw the ball to score. It's not likely that the Knights will be able to run the ball with great success against Texas.
Hodges will surprise. With our interview with Brett Hodges this week, he appeared to have a beam of confidence and should make some plays on Saturday.
Look for Josh Robinson to get plenty of opportunities. Robinson will be targeted as he is most weeks and he will have a chance to be a hero or goat. Either way, he will be better for the experience.
Look for Texas to dominate. These Texas Longhorns don't appear to be primed in any way for an upset. They are peaking and they are well aware of what the most minor slip-up could mean. On the other side, the Knights are excited about the trip, but very few of the players really spoke about winning. I sensed a minor lack of confidence and that's a tough way to enter this type of game.
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