Knights facing a must-win game in Hattiesburg
Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 18:11
UCF Knights (4-5, 2-3) at Southern Miss Golden Eagles (8-1, 4-1)
M.M. Roberts Stadium (36,000)
Kickoff time: 8 p.m.
Television: CBS Sports Network
Radio: WYGM 740 AM
Forecast: Partly cloudy, high of 71, low of 53
Southern Miss: Last time out
The No. 23 Golden Eagles continued their impressive season with a pivotal 48-28 win on the road over East Carolina (4-5, 3-2). The win put Southern Miss atop C-USA's East Division and was the seventh straight win for Larry Fedora's team. Following an East Carolina touchdown on the second play of the game, the Golden Eagles scored four unanswered touchdowns and led at the half, 38-14.
UCF: Last time out
The Knights got close against Tulsa (6-3, 5-0), but 64 yards in penalties and an inability to bring down quarterback G.J. Kinne doomed UCF at home, 24-17. For the most part, the Knights executed their game plan much as they intended, controlling time of possession in the first half and corralling a potent Golden Hurricane offense. But as the game went on, the penalties wore and so did UCF's inability to make plays.
What to watch for when Southern Miss has the ball:
Quarterback Austin Davis is the Golden Eagles all-time leading passer (9,543 yards, 71 touchdown passes). The guy in second place? Brett Favre. Davis torched the Knights for four touchdown passes last season and likely will be the focal point of UCF's defensive game plan this week. Southern Miss is another team that likes to run a quick, no-huddle offense, something the Knights will need to be prepared for.
What to watch for when UCF has the ball:
UCF head coach George O'Leary has talked all-season about making plays, mostly because he feels has team has not and how that's been the difference in the Knights' losses. Key for UCF this week will be turning drives where the Knights move the ball well into points, something the team has struggled with all season. Although quarterback Jeff Godfrey and running back Brynn Harvey remain the starters, there is a lot of uncertainty as to how the series and carries will be distributed. O'Leary said Tuesday that Blake Bortles will play Saturday, adding, "That's no more an option – it's a demand." Southern Miss's defense is much improved in 2011 under new defensive coordinator Dan Disch, utilizing a 4-2-5 scheme this season as opposed to the 4-3 it ran last year.
Key Southern Miss players
— Austin Davis, quarterback: runs well, lit up UCF for four touchdown passes last year
— Cordarro Law, defensive end: has 6.5 sacks this season, forced three fumbles