5 Keys to Victory: Mizzou vs. UCF

 

As Mizzou gets set to host the Central Florida Knights this Saturday at 11 AM Cenral on the SEC Network, it is important to understand just how good this UCF program has been in recent times.

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The Knights trounced Big 12 Champions Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl just eight months ago, and will certainly not be intimidated coming in to Columbia, MO this Saturday. Clearly, this is not quite the UCF team we saw a year ago, which was led by quarterback Brock Bortles and running back Storm Johnson, both of which have moved on to the NFL. Clearly, the Tigers will not be in for a field day despite UCF’s key losses, as it looks like the Knights have found a capable replacement for Bortles in sophomore Justin Holman who will make his first career start on Saturday. The Tiger defense will have to remain assignment sound, specifically in the defensive backfield, as the Knights will feature several talented receivers. As a unit, they have over 500 receptions, 7,000 yards, and 40 touchdowns.

10534702_842821138083_1613255233893785625_nMizzou is a team that clearly improved from week one to week two. Maty Mauk and the offense got on track in a big way last Saturday against a very capable Toledo team. Mauk threw for 325 yards, five touchdowns and even rushed for a score in the victory. If Mauk continues to improve his decision making, specifically in the intermediate passing game, Missouri is going to continue to grow exponentially as an offense. After being only three-point favorites last week, Mizzou obviously turned many heads in Vegas as the Tigers opened as a nine-point favorite against UCF.

 

Keys to a Mizzou Win

  • Maty Mauk. The Tigers’ signal caller accounted for six touchdowns a week ago (including five through the air) and should be able to expose a questionable UCF secondary that gave up 434 yards passing to Penn St. a couple weeks ago.
  • Secondary. Mizzou struggled defending the pass during their week-one victory over South Dakota State and UCF seems to have found a quarterback in Justin Holman. Mizzou corners must be sound in their assignments as the Knights also boast one of the top receiving corps in the nation.
  • Turnovers. The Tigers boast the longest turnover streak in the country and have forced at least one in every game dating back to the 2010 season. UCF cannot turn the football over and win the football game on the road.
  • Run the ball. UCF gave up only 57 yards rushing to Penn St. and Mizzou will have to be much better than that if they want to control the clock and the tempo of the game. This is a huge gut-check for backs Russell Hansbrough and Marcus Murphy.
  • Continued improvement. The Tigers got much better from week one to week two. After thrashing Toledo 49-24 a week ago, Mizzou looks like a team to be reckoned with once again in the SEC and if the team improves again this week, they will likely walk away from the game 3-0.

 

 

Avatar of Clint Switzer
Full-time sports fan, part-time contributor to society. GASN Sports co-founder, podcast host, filmmaker and writer.

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