In coach speak, the next game is the biggest one. This week, that may actually be true. UCF travels to face a Marshall team that may be its last major roadblock in sealing the Conference USA East Divison. The Thundering Herd, meanwhile, sit just one game back and could leapfrog into the driver’s seat with a win.
Marshall has a potent offense and is rolling, UCF has not looked totally solid in the last few weeks.
UCF fans are nervous.
Here’s some snippets to get you ready for the match-up.
- The line has held steady for UCF, which remains a 2.5-point favorite on the road in Huntington. Not sure how that sits with the Herd, who were vocal last week when they were the underdogs to a winless Southern Miss team.
- UCF captains for Saturday: Phil Smith, D.J. Williams & Jamie Boyle. Scout team players of the week: Blake Tiralosi & Michael Easton
- I was not able to use all of the quotes from my interview with defensive coordinator Jim Fleming for tomorrow's story. Here is a leftover:
On Marshall QB Rakeem Cato:
I think he gets rid of it fast. There arent many that have gotten to him, I don’t know the statistics off the top of my head, but the first point I talked about was the only way I’ve seen people get to him is the coverage is tight and he had to hold it a little bit longer and the D-line had a chance to get him. The quarterback’s very efficient, he gets rid of the ball quickly.
- @mdgoykhman asks: do you think our defense will struggle? Seems like a lot of missed tackles lately. Usual story tho...
As defensive coordinator Jim Fleming said for a story that will run in tomorrow's paper, the team has focused this week on its missed tackles, and I spoke to a number of defensive players who said they were both humbled and motivated by getting back to fundamentals this week. There is a major focus on hidden yardage and wrapping up, we'll see the impact it has on Saturday. Making sure receivers don't get major YAC will be vital, as will solving the issues in the run game, where UCF has given up more than five yards per carry in each of the last two games.
Some links from this week's opponent:
- When UCF and Marshall meet on Saturday, it will be strength vs. strength.
- The lines will play a key role for both teams in the vital conference game.