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Knights Gameday: Previewing UCF-USF

Getting to the bottom on who will take the 6th meeting of the War on I4.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Hard Facts

UCF (7-3) vs. USF (4-7)

Game Time: 12:00

Weather: 55 degrees, 0% chance of rain

Line: UCF - 11

TV: ESPN 2

Broadcast Team: Clay Matvick, Anthony Becht, Kayce Smith

Key to a Knights Victory

UCF must match the intensity that the Bulls are coming into this game with.  It is clear that USF head coach Willie Taggart has gotten his team ready to play this game and I believe that behind the scenes, George O'Leary has done the same.  The Knights must weather that initial burst of energy and flip the momentum.

Stat to Watch

Rushing yards, especially those of USF freshman RB Marlon Mack could hold the secret to an upset victory.  Outside of the first game of this series, the winning formula has really never included running the football.  However, the Bulls absolutely need to dominate the time of possession and a big day from Mack might mean they play spoiler to UCF's conference title ambitions.

Something's Got to Give

UCF is ranked a lowly 104 in rushing offense, but USF's defense is 91st against the run.  One might expect that could lead to the Knights getting a rare big game on the ground in 2014.  Especially with the return of William Stanback and the emergence of Micah Reed, the run game success could be a sight for sore eyes.

UCF Quote of the Week

George O'Leary from his weekly radio show on the smack talk coming from Tampa.

""I think there's a certain time to shoot your mouth off.  The beginning of the week is not the time. You're trying to get ready for a game. That's where your attention should be. Getting the game plan done. By Friday at noon, don't worry, we'll have some very excited UCF football players."

USF Quote of the Week

Senior defensive tackle Todd Chandler turned the hype level on this game up during the Bulls media availability on Tuesday.

""It's a natural hate.  We really don't like those guys. A lot of the young guys don't really understand the emotions behind it. But it's something you're born in. It's like those old-school cowboys and Indian movies. You're born to hate UCF and you inherit that hate once you sign that letter of intent to South Florida."

Prediction

Rivalry games are always hard to peg and this one is no exception.  Despite Justin Holman's inconsistencies, he is still way better than anything USF has under center.  That has to matter in a game where the weather should be picture perfect.

UCF 28 USF 17