Saturday, December 4, 2010
UCF, SMU set for C-USA title game
By Andrea Adelson
ORLANDO, Fla. -- We are about an hour from kickoff between SMU and Central Florida in the Conference USA title game. It is a beautiful day here in Florida, with sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s.
Here are some keys to watch:
1. SMU RB Zach Line vs. UCF defense. This was my biggest key to the game in my video preview earlier this week. Line leads Conference USA in rushing, and has used his speed and power to have a breakout season. Line, who was recruited as a linebacker, has given the run 'n' shoot offense an added dimension this season. The Knights have the best run defense in C-USA, but the linebackers are going to be needed to really step in and help slow Line down. UCF coach George O'Leary mentioned linebacker Josh Linam as a player who needs to have a big game.
2. Health of SMU QB Kyle Padron. Padron injured his ankle in the C-USA West Division title-clinching win over East Carolina last week. But Padron has practiced this week and will play. We'll see whether the injury affects his footwork and ability to potentially escape the pass rush. UCF has 24 sacks on the season. Watch for defensive end Darius Nall.
3. UCF QB Jeff Godfrey vs. SMU LB Ja'Gared Davis. The sophomore has had a breakout season for the Mustangs, with nine sacks -- ranking second in C-USA. He also has 15 tackles for loss, and has made a living of being in opposing backfields. With Godfrey's ability to scramble, Davis is going to be key in not only slowing down the UCF run game but in limiting Godfrey as well.