A Must Win Game

By Frank LaCosta

There was a lot riding on the UCF game for the Mustangs and they simply did not rise to the challenge. The 42-17 loss definitely stings. A steady combination of passes and runs kept the defense on their heels as the Knights found ways to score touchdowns through the air and on the ground. The offense wasn’t much better. QB Garrett Gilbert who had come off of a career passing effort against Memphis the week before, never found his rhythm and ended up being sacked three times. The good news is he didn’t throw any interceptions and rushed for two touchdowns. The bad news is he only completed 16 of 29 passing attempts without any touchdowns.

The Mustangs utilized RB Zach Line as much as they could in the first half which kept the game close. Line wound up with 21 carries for 96 yards but was kept out of the end zone. He did catch four passes for 51 yards. The “Johnson & Johnson” duo were kept at bay with a combined nine catches for 61 yards. Darius Johnson was the more productive of the two but still didn’t do enough to keep the Knights defense honest. Gilbert isn’t able to extend plays and as a result the three and outs on offense doesn’t allow the defense to rest. Look for improved play on both sides of the ball with Southern Miss coming to town.

On paper the Southern Miss Golden Eagles don’t look like much. They haven’t won a game all season and ranked near the bottom of every statistical category. This is also a team that took UCF to overtime before losing 38-31 on the road. They also played #11 Louisville close at home but loss 21-17. The Golden Eagle do run the ball effectively. Their offensive line though cannot pass protect, which is why QB Anthony Alford has been sacked 11 times and has thrown four interceptions. He hasn’t completed a touchdown pass yet this season.

The Mustangs won’t overlook the Golden Eagles this week. If the Mustangs execute on offense with a decent passing attack then they’ll be one step closer to a bowl bid. That has to be the team’s goal at this point.

Game Info:
SOUTHERN MISS vs SMU
SAT. NOV. 10 – 6PM / FSN
GERALD FORD STADIUM

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