Looking forward — Previewing the 2012 season: Week Four vs. Missouri
UCF faces tall task in containing Missouri run game in season’s biggest home game
Published: Monday, June 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, June 25, 2012 09:06
In Week Four of the 2012 season, the UCF Knights will find themselves pitted against one of the newest Southeastern Conference teams, the Missouri Tigers.
Missouri and Texas A&M, both formerly of the Big 12, enter 2012 as first-year members of the SEC. The move will give the Knights a chance against an SEC team at Bright House Networks Stadium.
What to look for
In 2011, quarterback James Franklin burst onto the scene as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. In his first season as a starter, the then-sophomore amassed 36 touchdowns, 21 of which came through the air and 15 on the ground.
At 6-foot-2, 225 lbs., Franklin has the size to withstand the beating that he took after carrying the ball 217 times for 981 yards. Franklin has good speed and surprising power. The Tigers run a spread offense, where they use Franklin’s athletic ability on designed quarterback draws and quarterback sweeps. His speed allows him to escape the pocket when teams get pressure.
Missouri has momentum coming into the 2012 season, winning its last four games including a 17-point victory over North Carolina in the Independence Bowl.
The Tigers return their rushing leader Henry Josey, who gained 1,168 yards on only 145 carries. For all of you math majors out there, that’s 8.1 yards per carry, nearly a first down per carry and more than 2,000 yards for their starting backfield.
The Tigers’ dominant running game will be a cause for concern for the Knights.
UCF will have to stay disciplined upfront and maintain gap integrity to help contain Franklin and Josey. The perimeter pass rushers are going to have to be careful when rushing up the field because a team like Missouri will feed off the running lanes created by pass rushers. Toby Jackson, Cam Henderson and Troy Davis will have their hands full.
The Missouri offense is famous for its use of the tight end position in spread formations.
Quarterback Blake Bortles and the Knights’ offense should be able to put up points on the Tiger defense, which ranked 61st in total defense in 2011.
Chunk plays will be the difference in this game.
Overall, this could be the toughest matchup on the entire schedule. The UCF defense is generally known for its pass rushing ability. Missouri will run the ball out of passing formations, forcing the Knights to stay in their nickel-and-dime packages.