By Sports Network
The Sports Network
The sixth-ranked Texas Longhorns head to Orlando this weekend for a non-conference matchup with the UCF Knights.
Texas is coming off a 34-13 victory over a strong TCU squad, and the Longhorns were certainly more impressive in that tilt than they were in a 21-13 triumph over Arkansas State to open the campaign. It is hard not to look ahead to the much-anticipated October 6th meeting with Oklahoma, as the Big 12 powerhouses are both expected to be undefeated heading into that clash.
UCF has reason to enter this matchup with confidence, as the Knights opened their season on September 1st with a 25-23 road victory over NC State of the ACC. The victory was the first for UCF over a BCS conference team in seven years. Despite that strong effort, the Knights enter Saturday's tilt at home as clear underdogs.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Texas and UCF on the gridiron.
The Texas offense was far from explosive in the opener against Arkansas State, so when the Longhorns were held scoreless in the first half by TCU last weekend, fans in Austin began to hit the panic button. Fortunately, things turned around in the second half of that tilt, as Texas scored 10 points in the third quarter and 24 in the fourth to run away with the victory. Colt McCoy threw one touchdown against two interceptions, one of which was returned for a first-quarter score. Billed as a Heisman hopeful heading into this campaign, McCoy is far down on the list of legitimate candidates at this point. The ground attack was spearheaded by Jamal Charles, as he rushed for 134 yards on 22 carries against TCU. Through eight quarters of football, McCoy has been intercepted four times against only three touchdown passes. Nate Jones has made 17 catches already, but the fact that he has only gained 163 yards suggests that most of his grabs have been for short gains. As for Charles, he has rushed for 246 yards and two touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry.
Give the Texas defense plenty of credit for its performance against TCU last weekend. The Longhorns surrendered only one touchdown in the clash, and that score came on a 45-yard return of a McCoy interception. The run defense was absolutely superb, limiting the Horned Frogs to 43 net yards on 32 carries. Clearly, three sacks totaling 36 lost yards certainly helped that stat line. Texas forced six fumbles in the tilt and recovered three to go along with one interception. Through two outings, Texas is yielding only 13 ppg, and even that average is not an accurate depiction of how stingy this defense has been. It is hard to say that the Longhorns have been dominant, as they are yielding 324.0 total yards per outing, but they have stiffened significantly when opponents are in scoring range. Marcus Griffin has been a strong performer for the defense, as he has made 21 total tackles.
UCF tailback Kevin Smith picked the perfect time to have a career-best performance, as he rushed for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over NC State. Smith set the tone with an 80-yard scoring scamper on the first play from scrimmage, and he had racked up a staggering total of 177 yards by intermission. The Knights held a dominant 25-3 halftime lead, and they were able to hold on for the victory despite being shutout in the second half. Kyle Isreal was not spectacular under center by any means, as he completed exactly half of his 24 passes for 93 yards. Still, he managed to avoid interceptions and was only sacked once, obvious keys to the win. The Knights did not lose a fumble in the clash and managed to prevail despite a woeful 2-of-16 success ratio on third down conversion attempts.
The fact that UCF was able to hold NC State to three points in the first half of Saturday's road game is extremely impressive. In the third quarter, the Knights did allow a touchdown, but the Wolfpack started that scoring drive at the UCF 33-yard line. Things got interesting in the fourth quarter when the Knights surrendered a pair of passing touchdowns, but the overall effort of the defense has to be viewed as a positive by fans and coaches alike. Several individuals contributed to the strong defensive effort. Jason Venson led the charge with nine total tackles, and Lawrence Young was close behind with 8.5 stops. Bruce Miller was certainly disruptive, as he made two tackles in the backfield.
BOOMERSOONER#1:ok now u no about the game what do u think is there a chance for an upset. UCF is a good team. They are at the top of Confrence USA right now. Any chance for an upset.