UCF Knights Face a Big Test at SMU

The UCF Knights football team takes to the road this Saturday for their 2nd Conference USA game of the season…a Saturday 3:30 re-match of the Conference USA Championship  vs. Southern Methodist.

The Knights won the head-to-head championship game back on December 4th of a year ago by a score of 17-7 @ Brighthouse Networks Stadium on the UCF campus…SMU has pointed to this game since.

UCF is the lone east division team in CUSA that has not lost a conference game…the Knights won their 1st league game last Saturday ‘knight’ during what  could be best described as a 3-hour monsoon, beating Marshall by a score of 16-6.

SMU is 2-0 in Conference USA.  The other of the tri-favorites to win the west division…Houston (2-0) and Tulsa (1-0) are also perfect in the early part of the conference season.

While the Knights were sloshing around in the unusual all night downpour last week against Marshall, SMU was idle.  The Mustangs are 4-1 overall but are winners of four straight including their most recent game, a 40-33 overtime win at then #20 TCU.

The Mustangs are coached by June Jones, the onetime head man at both Hawaii and the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL.  He loves the run and shoot offense.

The Mustangs changed quarterbacks in game 1, a day they were throttled 46-14 at Teaxas A&M.  They haven’t lost since.  SMU also return 9 other starters on offense from the team UCF played in December, and 8 starters returned this year from the defensive side of the ball.

UCF will have to be at its best to win on the road for the 1st time in 2011.  The 0-2 start on the road this season has had everything to do with turnovers.  There is no question that the SMU offense will be the best UCF has faced this season, and I think the Mustangs’ defense will also be the best that the Knights will have played.

UCF is 3-2 overall, but there is no question they were as good or better than the opponent in the losses to FIU and BYU.

Keys:

1.  Move the chains!

2.  Win 3rd down (on both sides of the ball).

3.  Win the turnover battle.

This will be a great early conference season test.  Regardless of the outcome, UCF will still have control of its own destiny the rest of the way in CUSA play.  The weather should be perfect.  Temperature highs on Saturday in Dallas are expected to be in the mid 80s with sunny skies.

 

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