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Five Questions with Down the Drive in Advance of UCF-Cincinnati

We sat down with Bearcats expert Phil Neuffer to answer our burning Cincinnati questions.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the UCF Knights take on the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Knights are one win form bowl eligibility. Will this game do the trick?

We talked with Phil Neuffer from Bearcats blog Down the Drive to get a sense of what UCF fans can expect from UC. You can follow Phil on Twitter @PhilNeuffer.

  1. What UC players should UCF fans be focused on - Offense? Defense?

Running back Tion Green and wide receiver Devin Gray stand out as the most dangerous playmakers. Green will have an increased workload this week because of the uncertainty around Mike Boone, who left last week’s game with a leg injury. Normally Green and Boone share the carries, but due to the Bearcats lack of depth at the position, Green will be given the role of feature back. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing since he has rushed for 559 yards on 118 attempts, including an 82-yard effort last week.

As for Gray, he has established himself as the No. 1 target on a team with several talented receiving options (Kahlil Lewis and Nate Cole are both big play threats). Gray leads the team in receptions (46) and receiving yards (668) and has been the most consistent pass-catcher, with at least four receptions in all but one game this season. No other UC receiver can claim a similar stat line.

2. The Bearcats are coming off a game where they scored a season-low 3 points. Can you diagnose the offensive woes for us and will they continue?

UC’s offensive problems have been poisoning the team all season. The Bearcats haven’t scored a touchdown in the last six quarters and a lot of it comes down to an inability to sustain drives. They are second to last in the conference in time of possession and too often go three and out with uninspired play calling. It has not helped that there has been no clear answer at quarterback, but this team has talent, it’s just becoming harder and harder to believe that that talent is being utilized the right way.

3. What do you view as the key position match-up on Saturday?

I’d say the match-up between Shaquem Griffin and whoever is blocking him. His ability to create pressure or negative plays could be a real detriment for UC, which needs time to develop plays as it runs out of the shotgun and often looks for longer passes.

4. The advanced stats give UCF a 66% chance of winning. Do you tend to think that's a fair assessment or do you tend to disagree?

I think it is a more than fair assessment. Its surreal that UC topped UCF 52-7 last season and now I’d be pretty surprised if they traveled south and came away with a win. UC has just shown no positive offensive consistency this season and although the defense has been better, it isn’t a unit that will win games for you.

5. Seriously, what is up with Tommy Tuberville and what does his future look like at UC?

I’d say his future looks rather bleak, even if he did sign a two-year extension this past spring. The fans are calling for his head and this week the tension finally started to boil over. If UC somehow manages to go to a bowl that might buy him one more year, but I don’t expect it to at this point and with how pitiful the team has looked, Mike Bohn (UC’s athletic director) would be crazy to just keep the status quo.