The Line: UCF -14.5
Kickoff: Saturday 7:15 P.M, Gerald J. Ford Stadium
TV: ESPN 2
Radio: AM 740
ORLANDO, Fla – UCF (7-0) has a tough matchup this week against SMU (6-2). SMU has been solid this year, only losing one conference game and the other to No. 20 TCU. Once again, UCF will be a team’s homecoming week opponent. How UCF performs early in this game will be crucial. The crowd is going to be going nuts, a quick start for UCF could really settle them down.
SMU plays at an up-tempo pace. They currently rank 9th in the nation in total offense. Much of this success is due to their passing game. Quarterback Ben Hicks has improved dramatically in his second year under center. He has thrown for 2,305 yards and 19 touchdowns.
“They have weapons on offense and they’re going to put up points. Our defense has played really well when they’ve had some big challenges in front of them and we’re going to need that from them.,” Coach Frost said when asked about SMU’s explosive offense.
A big part of Ben Hicks success this year is thanks to Tre Quinn. Tre Quinn transferred after playing two years at LSU, and has not disappointed. Quinn has 79 receptions, 874 yards, and 7 touchdowns through 8 games! He had a streak this year where he caught 15 balls in three straight games, no receiver has done that in over a century. That is not SMU’s only offensive weapon, they have an equally dangerous receiver on the other side of the field. Courtland Sutton has been electric. Killing defenses with his downfield speed, the defense needs to know where Sutton is at all times. Sutton averages over 16 yards per reception and has 9 touchdowns.
“I feel like they have an offense we’ve play against often, if we go in and play our keys we should be fine,” Jamiyus Pittman on preparing for this high-powered offense.
The defense for SMU doesn’t rank quite as well statistically, but they do some things well. They have created forced 15 turnovers, and sacked the quarterback 22 times. Justin Lawler is their leader on defense. He has 7.5 sacks, adding in an additional 4 tackles for loss. Lawler draws a lot of attention up front. He is a senior and had high expectations going into this year. Bleacher Report named him one of the top 25 returning seniors in college football this year. He has not disappointed.
There are only four games left in the regular season, every game is crucial for UCF going down the stretch. When you play in the American conference one loss can destroy your resume. USF had their first loss of the year last week, and they are no longer ranked. They have created a target on their backs, SMU is ready to play the spoiler. This should be an awesome game.
“We know that if we stop doing what we are doing it can all be gone,” Jamiyus Pittman said on the thought of one single loss. “We don’t talk about it, but I’m pretty sure everybody thinks about it.”