Thursday, December 30, 2010
AutoZone Liberty Bowl: UCF 3 keys
By Andrea Adelson
You saw the preview and prediction. Now here are three keys for UCF in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Georgia on Friday:
1. Get after Aaron Murray. UCF had the top defense in Conference USA and has the ability to put pressure on quarterbacks. Murray has been sacked 21 times this season, and UCF has two terrific sack-masters in Bruce Miller and Darius Nall -- two Georgia products who would love nothing else than to show the Bulldogs what they missed. Miller won C-USA Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Nall has an inspirational story, having come back to play after being treated for cancer. The two have combined for 15.5 sacks this season. UCF had five sacks in the C-USA title game against SMU and a big reason why the Knights were able to shut SMU down was because of defensive pressure.
2. Contain A.J. Green. UCF cornerback Josh Robinson has had his share of struggles in coverage this season, but he did an excellent job on SMU leading receiver Aldrick Robinson in the C-USA title game, holding him to three catches for 43 yards. Robinson was highly motivated to prove himself in that game. The motivation should be even greater against Green, expected to be a high first-round pick in the NFL draft should he leave school early. Aldrick Robinson was a better matchup for Josh Robinson because of their similar statures. Both are 5-foot-10. But Green has a huge size advantage at 6-foot-4. He is more physical and more powerful than Aldrick Robinson, which is another big reason why UCF has got to get pressure on Murray.
3. Get the ground game going. UCF has four capable players who can run the ball: Ronnie Weaver, Latavius Murray, quarterback Jeff Godfrey and Jonathan Davis. Weaver, Murray and Godfrey have combined to score 31 rushing touchdowns this season. Murray had a terrific game against SMU, with 115 total yards and two touchdowns. Georgia has given up chunks of yards on the ground this season, allowing opponents an average of 149 yards a game. So it is going to be important for UCF to establish the run early to allow Godfrey more freedom in the pass game.