3 Things UCF Needs To Do To Beat South Carolina
1. Limit Mike Davis: Coming into this season, some questioned whether Mike Davis had the ability to be the feature back for South Carolina and fill the big shoes left behind by Marcus Lattimore. Three games into 2013, Davis has shown he is up to the task. The sophomore back comes into Saturday's game with 3 rushing touchdowns, averaging 7.6 yards per carry and over 113 yards per game.
Davis has also been a threat in the passing game. Although he only has 7 catches at this point in the season, he has racked up 116 receiving yards giving him an average of 16.6 yards per catch.
Mike Davis has been a big contributor in the Gamecock's two wins and played really well in their lone lose to Georgia (16 carries, 149 yards and a touchdown). UCF's defense needs to control the line of scrimmage to prevent the speedster from breaking the big one. If UCF can contain Davis and limit his production, the Knights stand a much better chance of winning the time of possession battle and the game.
2. Get a Strong Performance from the O-Line: Good offensive line play is a key to victory in every football game, at every level. UCF is fortunate they will be getting starting left tackle Torrian Wilson back from injury because in this game, it will be absolutely crucial. The Knights offense has started off well, averaging over 36 points per game. They will need to keep it up against their toughest test to date. To do that they will need to give Bortles time to throw and open up holes for Storm Johnson to run through.
In the passing game, the O-Line will need to keep one of the best front lines in the game, led by Jadaveon Clowney, in check. Clowney entered this season with astronomical expectations and has yet to live up to them so far. Clowney knows this game will be another chance to impress the country on national TV. UCF's front line will be charged with the tall task of keeping one of the most talented and motivated athletes in the country from impacting the game the way he is always expected to.
The run game will be an important factor for the offensive unit as well. The Knights have enjoyed a consistent ground game so far but have yet to face anything near as talented or physical as this SEC defense. The line will need to dig down and win some battles up front to give Storm Johnson room to run. If UCF can establish a respectable running game early on, it should open things up for Blake Bortles and his talented group of receivers.
3. Don't Buy into the Hype: The game at Penn State was, undoubtedly, a big win for UCF. Going into Happy Valley and coming out victorious was a great accomplishment and was enough to turn some heads. Now UCF is receiving some top 25 votes, ABC decided to nationally televise their next game and Blake Bortles' NFL potential is being discussed. But the Knights need to stay hungry and focused because the season is young and nothing has been accomplished yet. South Carolina is not going to give UCF anything. They will need to fight and struggle for every yard.
The Knights have the potential to be great and there is an opportunity for them to be the most successful team in UCF's history. But it will not be easy and the real work is just beginning.