UCF-Memphis Preview: Knights Looking To Get Back On Track In Homecoming GameFootball, Sports — By Anthony Scalco on October 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm Tweet
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Coming off a disappointing loss to lowly UAB last week, the UCF football team is looking to bounce back in its Homecoming game against Memphis this Saturday.
The season’s outlook is starting to look bleak after a Jeckyll and Hyde performance through the first seven games of the season as the Knights are 3-0 at home, but 0-4 on the road.
With two extra days of rest and two straight home games, the Knights look to the comfort of Bright House Networks Stadium to get their season back on track and attempt to salvage a chance at a Conference USA title.
After losing four of the last five games, this is gut check time for a Knights team, whose defensive stoutness seemed to have vanished the past two weeks, that needs a character-building win to remind themselves of their potential.
Memphis is again college football’s doormat program, with only two wins this season, coming over FCS program Austin Peay and conference foe Tulane.
UCF has a six-game winning streak against the Tigers, which is its second-longest over any foe.
Scouting Report: UCF
The Knights defense was ranked in the top five in the nation just two weeks ago, but surrendered 941 yards combined in the last tw0 weeks to SMU and UAB. Turnovers have plagued the Knights all season, and what began as a small kink in their armor, became a glaring weakness spreading to the rest of the team.
The good news is that they’re at home, which gives them the best chance to turn things around with a solid performance.
“It’s definitely a good thing to play home. Home field advantage is a great thing you have. We understand that you can’t play every game at home, so we have to learn how to play on the road,” senior tailback Ronnie Weaver said.
“It kind of came at the right time that we have these home games, so we can try to do our best to get back on track.”
A quarterback controversy is potentially brewing as the growing debate over who should be the starter under center- Jeff Godfrey or Blake Bortles. Godfrey is the first freshmen to ever lead his team to a conference title, while Bortles is off to a hot start this year, completing 73 percent of his passes and throwing for 410 yards in 37 total passing attempts.
Bortles has seemed to spark the offense when he has been inserted into the game with his big play capabilities through the air, while Godfrey offers the exciting breakaway speed with his legs.
“We just weren’t focusing enough as a whole unit,” Godfrey said after he was asked about the difficulties of finishing drives. “Some bad decisions by me of course. That is something that I have to work on, and we’ll do a good job at it as an offensive unit.”
Despite all this, the Knights as a unit understand the hole they have put themselves in with a bad start, but are working hard to fix the problems.
“I think it’s good to have everybody with the same mindset on the team because you can’t have guys haven’t guys on the team that are giving up and thinking the season is a waste now. We still can accomplish all our goals if we win five games, but we’ve got to take it one game at a time and win this game against Memphis,” linebacker Josh Linam said.
Scouting Report: Memphis
Memphis (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) is coming off a 33-17 victory over Tulane. Despite an improving defense, the Tigers surrendered 459 yards of offense, while only allowing 17 points. The Knights will look to exploit the holes in the Tigers defense and capitalize on third down, which will be a key to winning the game.
Memphis ranks near the bottom in most defensive statistical categories, which should boast well for a Knights squad struggling to find an identity.
The Tigers have also lost four of their last five games, and have not beaten UCF since the Knights joined Conference USA. The Tigers’ last win over UCF was a 37-28 win in 1990.
The Tigers just aren’t strong on either side of the ball. Their offense has been anemic for the entire season, only producing 14 touchdowns so far and 89 rushing yards per game.
QB Taylor Reed leads Memphis with eight touchdowns and 1,317 yards this season. The true freshman has been a bright spot for Memphis this season, but will have a big challenge against a normally stout UCF secondary on its home field.
With little running game, the Knights secondary will have to stop Reed and his favorite target, Tannar Rehrer, who has three touchdown catches this year.
- Look for a healthy dose of Brynn Harvey, who continues to hold down the starting runningback position for the Knights.
- If Godfrey does not get off to a hot start, don’t be surprised if Blake Bortles makes an early appearance.
- Homecoming is just what the Knights needed to revitalize their season and start their uphill ascent in the C-USA East Division.
Look to see an aggressive Knights squad make it seven in a row against the Tigers. Can I really go wrong picking the Knights on Homecoming? UCF wins 30-13.