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Preview: SMU vs UCF
Nov 19, 2014
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UCF SMU Football

Game Time: Saturday, November 22nd at 12:00 PM

TV Coverage: ESPN News/Watch ESPN

Current Kickoff Forecast: 70 Degrees, Partly Cloudy, 20% chance of passing showers

The 6-3 UCF Knights take on the 0-9 SMU Mustangs this upcoming Saturday afternoon in a must win matchup for the Knights, while the Mustangs have absolutely nothing to lose. There are bad teams in college football every year, and then there are the teams where you ask yourself “How can they even be that awful?” SMU has yet to win a game this season, which is quickly entering into crunch time. SMU lost an absolute heart breaker last weekend, as they lost to UCF’s rival, USF, 14-13 on a last second touchdown catch by Andre Davis. (One could also argue that the referees missed a pushoff on Davis to get open for the score). Meanwhile, UCF took care of business, dominating a porous Tulsa team 31-7. UCF completely took the air out of Tulsa, who averages 271 passing yards per game. Instead, Tulsa had completed only 72 passing yards, along with a 32 percent passing.

UCF had a bye week to recover from the major disappointment of losing to UConn and regroup, refocus, and dominate in every aspect of their game against Tulsa. Justin Holman had his best performance to date, completing 16 of his 27 pass attempts for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns. Most importantly, he threw for 0 interceptions and made the correct reads all game. William Stanback had a decent first half gaining 54 yards on 17 carries (3.2 YPC), but he injured his shoulder and Dontravious Wilson stole the show from there. Wilson ran for 87 yards on 17 carries (5.1 YPC) and also had a touchdown. Wilson is showing progress with more game experience and Stanback has continued to be inconsistent, but Stanback still should get the start against SMU. As for UCF’s receivers, Josh Reese, whom has been the underappreciated guy of the receiving core, finally had his breakout game. He hauled in 4 receptions for 104 yards and 1 touchdown, while counterpart Breshad Perriman didn’t slack either gaining 82 yards on only 3 receptions, one of them going for his 6th touchdown catch of the year.

While UCF was dominating, SMU was struggling against another lower tier American Athletic Conference team this year, USF. SMU has shown some progression as the season has gone on – it looks like they finally have found their answer at quarterback. Matt Davis threw at an impressive 70.97% while completing 22 passes. However, with those 22 completions SMU gained a modest 189 yards through the air, or 8.6 yards per completion. Davis also led SMU in rushing as he amassed 53 yards on 11 carries. SMU’s starting running back, Prescott Line, was unimpressive as he rushed 7 times for 11 yards. SMU’s atrocious defense played their strongest game of the season against USF, only letting up 14 points, but they could not get a stop when they needed it the most. As a matter of fact, SMU is ranked 127th in the FBS in points against, and 128th in points for. They can’t get it done on the ground, nor through the air as they are ranked in the bottom of both the AAC and in all of FBS in passing and rushing yards.

Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for SMU though – they know they have nothing to lose, and an upset over the Knights would end UCF’s chance to enter a three way tie at the top of the AAC. Another bonus for SMU is that the game is at noon, where UCF has struggled. UCF is 1-2 this season in noon games as they were blown out at Missouri, then barely clung on to win an ugly game against a poor Tulane team, and then had the inexcusable loss to UConn. SMU does have a couple of playmakers that UCF’s defense does need to game plan around: new quarterback Matt Davis who took over for an ineffective/injured Garrett Krstich (Who was only starting because of an injury to supposed-to-be starter Neal Burcham), WR Darius Joseph who has 39 catches for 241 receiving yards and 2 TDs, and look out for speedster Deion Sanders Jr. on kickoff returns, who averages 20.3 yards per return. Otherwise, SMU’s three running-back attack of K.C. Nlemchi, Prescott Line, and Kevin Pope have combined for only 379 yards for the entire season and 3 touchdowns. (That’s terrible). UCF hopes to get back Rannell Hall who has been out almost a month with a hamstring issue, as he is UCF’s main kickoff return threat and one of the stronger receivers in the American.

UCF should be able to win this game without a sweat, however the noon kickoff could hurt the energy level that the Knights come out with. Watch for UCF to get out to a slow start, but my prediction has them ending up winning 38-10. SMU has a grand total of 3 turnovers (all interceptions) gained all season – they simply do not have the playmaking ability to keep up with UCF, even if UCF comes out playing uninspired football. UCF does need to put the petal to the metal, and not look beyond SMU though, as their final two regular season games are against rivals USF and ECU.

Players to Watch

UCF: Sophomore RB Dontravious Wilson (Does he continue his progress and take more carries than Stanback), QB Justin Holman (Can he put together two good games in a row), Junior WR Breshad Perriman, Senior LB Terrance Plummer (He will have to contain Matt Davis on the ground), and sophomore corner Jacoby Glenn (Sophomore) and senior corner Jordan Ozerities (Can they continue to make plays and prevent long passing plays)?

SMU: Sophomore QB Matt Davis, Sophomore K/R Deion Sanders Jr., Senior WR Der’Rikk Thompson, and Junior WR Darius Joseph.

Injuries

UCF: Colby Watson (Out for Year), Joey Grant (Questionable-I would say highly doubtful), Rannell Hall (Questionable)

SMU: Neal Burcham (Out for year), Garret Krstich (Questionable), Darius Durall (Questionable), and Daniel Gresham (Questionable).

About author

Profile photo of Daniel Glass

Daniel Glass

I currently work for my family business in New Jersey and attended UCF from 2007-2011. I graduated with a degree in general business and when not working I am watching college football or the NFL. I am not an experienced writer, but have always been curious to test the turbulent waters of writing about my favorite team. Follow me on twitter @Dgyn14.

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