Who: UCF (12-0) vs. LSU (9-3)
What: Fiesta Bowl
When: Tuesday 1 p.m.
Where: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Here’s what to watch:
Tempo, Tempo, Tempo
The Knights want to go fast. And now, with redshirt freshman quarterback Darriel Mack (above) at the helm, they want to run lots of plays, too. And, do it quickly. UCF averaged 44.2 points per game this season and 545 yards of total offense each time out.
Granted that was against lesser competition than what LSU faced in the SEC, but still, the style in the speed of play is something they hope to use as a weapon Tuesday afternoon.
And if the American Conference Championship Game comeback win over Memphis is any indication, LSU has to be very concerned about being worn down. That’s what happened to those Tigers, as UCF rolled up over 300 yards and 35 points in the second half of the game to rally from a 28 – 17 deficit and still win easily.
Will D Rule the Day for LSU?
Not unlike their fellow “SEC brethren” Auburn a year ago, these Tigers are hoping that their size, speed and athleticism on defense will be a factor. Auburn got a rude awakening, as the Knights with McKenzie Milton at the offensive controls, roasted them for much of the day defensively.
LSU boasts several NFL-caliber defensive players, but will be without star defensive back Greedy Williams, who is skipping the game to prepare for the NFL Draft.
LSU is, by far, the most talented defense the Knights have played this season and they have only allowed 20.2 points per game against primarily SEC competition.
“Something has to give” in this match-up.
Heupel vs. Orgeron
One final factor is the coaching match-up, where UCF’s Josh Heupel will be coaching in his first bowl game, and obviously, it’s a massive one. However, Heupel previously does have “big game experience,” having quarterbacked Oklahoma to the BCS National Championship Game win over FSU in 2000.
As for Orgeron, who has repeatedly demonstrated at LSU (and previously as interim coach at USC and Ole Miss before that) that he has issues with clock management, game situations, adjustments, etc.
He won the Citrus Bowl two years ago, as LSU’s interim coach, over Heisman winner Lamar Jackson and Louisville. However, the Tigers were beaten by Notre Dame in the same game last year. And a loss on Tuesday to UCF will have many questioning whether Orgeron is going face heat in the when the 2019 season rolls around this fall.
Finally, here’s our video preview of the game with Todd Grasley and T.J. Rives:
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