After spending a week recovering from their loss versus the SMU Mustangs, the Memphis Tigers prepare for their next home game versus the UCF Knights. The Knights have been recognized as perennial favorites to win the American Athletic Conference and possibly play in a New Year’s Six bowl game. Currently, both programs have experienced losses this season.
Before their loss against Tulsa, the UCF Knights seemed like the team that was heads and shoulders above the rest in the AAC. Memphis will have an opportunity to disrupt the Knights’ aspirations for this season once again when facing them in the Liberty Bowl. Strike 7 Sports lists three essential keys to victory that the Tigers should utilize to defeat the UCF Knights this Saturday.
1. Force Dillon Gabriel to Perform Like an Average Quarterback
At the start of the season, Dillon Gabriel performed on a level of being recognized as an elite quarterback in college football. That notion may still be the case, but when the Knights hosted the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes, their defense made him look average. He only threw for 331 yards, one touchdown pass, and one interception. The Hurricanes defense did not allow Gabriel to orchestrate the Knights offense to the level that everyone has come to know over the years.
The Memphis defense must have the same type of impact on Gabriel in Saturday’s football game. One thing for sure is that the Tigers have one of the better defensive units in the conference. They were able to slow down the high-powered SMU offense to only 30 points in their October 3 matchup this season. Before facing the Tigers, SMU averages up to 50 points in their previous two ball games.
2. Brady White Must Play Mistake-Free Football
Quarterback Brady White is the conductor of the Memphis Tigers offense. However, in certain moments his pocket awareness can be an area of concern. White has committed numerous turnovers in games due to his lack of situational awareness as a pocket passer.
In the previous game against SMU, White committed a costly turnover when a Mustang defender forced a strip-sack fumble that allowed them to get the football back and eventually defeat the Tigers. Like SMU, the Knights are an offense that can change the outcome of a football game if the opportunities such as turnovers present itself. White must act swiftly when under duress in the pocket.
3. Control the Time of Possession
Without a shadow of a doubt, we all know that the Memphis Tigers can hang with anyone when it comes to offensive production. However, in their upcoming game against UCF, a more balanced approach must be utilized.
The more successful they can become running the football against UCF, the quarterback, Dillon Gabriel’s chances of getting on the field, become slim. Memphis have demonstrated that they can methodically pick a defense apart with the passing game if they decide to utilize that route. The UCF offense is very potent and the only way that it can be slowed down is by a strategical approach. These are your Memphis Tigers’ three essential keys to victory versus the UCF Knights.
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