UCF Offense vs. Mississippi State Defense
The Knights ran the ball almost twice as much as they threw it during the regular season, and that's exactly what most coaches would do if they had RB Kevin Smith in the backfield. Smith has flown under the radar for the most part but he needs just 180 yards to surpass Barry Sanders as the holder of the nation's single-season rushing record. As a runner, Smith shows a rare blend of patience, balance and explosiveness. He makes the most of an offensive line that has jelled into a cohesive unit. Considering Mississippi State's run defense is giving up an average of 4.2 yards per carry, the logical assumption is Smith will run wild. Don't give him the record just yet. Remember that Mississippi State faced the potent ground games of Arkansas and LSU in the SEC while Smith saw some of the weakest run defenses in the nation. Bulldog DTs Kyle Love and Jessie Bowman are big enough to clog up the middle and keep blockers off ILB Jamar Chaney and backup Jamon Hughes working against the Knights' interior offensive line. On the outside, LBs Gabe O'Neal and Dominic Douglas are quick enough to make plays in the backfield and relentless in pursuit. In addition, look for Mississippi State to stack the line of scrimmage with SS De'Mon Glanton and/or FS Derek Pegues. So though the Bulldogs will have a difficult time shutting Smith down, he shouldn't run wild either.