Here’s everything you need to know about UCF at Missouri.

When: Today
Where: Columbia, MO
Game Time: Noon ET
TV: SEC Network
Current Line: Missouri (-10)

Game Buzz: The Missouri Tigers are off to a strong start in 2014 with a 2-0 record. Quarterback Maty Mauk has lived up to his preseason hype thus far with 503 yards and eight touchdowns passing, while rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown. Through two games, Missouri wideouts Bud Sasser, Darius White and Jimmie Hunt each have over 100 yards receiving and multiple touchdowns . Running back Russell Hansbrough leads with 210 rushing yards, two touchdowns and is averaging 105 yards per game. In Week 2, Missouri’s defensive linemen Markus Golden and Shane Ray looked impressive against a tough Toledo offensive line. The Tigers will face a solid UCF team Saturday that includes nearly double-digit returning starters on defense and a strong wide receiving corps.

SATURDAY DOWN SOUTH PREVIEWS

NO. 24 MISSOURI TIGERS

Players To Watch:

  • QB Maty Mauk
  • RB Russell Hansbrough
  • WR Bud Sasser
  • WR Darius White
  • DE Markus Golden
  • DE Shane Ray
  • LB Michael Scherer
  • CB Aarion Penton

Keys For Missouri:

  • Pressure the quarterback: Markus Golden and Shane Ray continued Missouri’s success at defensive end from last season. The duo combined for three sacks against a talented Toledo offensive line, which allowed just six in 12 games last season. Golden and Ray now have a combined 8.5 tackles for loss in two games. The Tigers will apply pressure to quarterback Justin Holman, who has fared well since entering in the second half of UCF’s Week 1 loss to Penn State.
  • Strong performance from pass defense: UCF boasts one of the deepest wide receiving corps in the country. Rannell Hall missed the team’s opening game, but caught 57 passes for 886 yards last season. J.J. Worton looks to record at least 40 catches and 500 receiving yards for the fourth consecutive season. Missouri will need a big performance from Aarion Penton and its secondary, who have struggled at times this season.
  • Improve run defense: Missouri’s run defense has gone from a strength to weakness in 2014. Markus Golden took full responsibility for the defensive struggles, saying “after watching film this week, it wasn’t anything Toldeo did. It was our mistakes.” The Tigers should be able to fix those flaws against a UCF team that combined for just 24 rushing yards in its only game.

Glaring weakness to watch: Run defense– see above.

Most interesting part of the game: Can Maty Mauk continue his success through the air against 2013 freshman All-American cornerback Jacoby Glenn.

Team buzz: Missouri has looked like the reigning SEC East champions through its first two games. However, the Tigers have benefited from a relatively easy schedule, capturing wins against South Dakota State and Toledo. Although UCF is hardly an SEC program, they did finish 12-1 last season with a perfect 8-0 record in AAC games. As a nationally respected team, the Knights are perfectly capable of pulling off an upset.

CENTRAL FLORIDA KNIGHTS

Players To Watch:

  • QB Justin Holman
  • WR Rannell Hall
  • WR J.J. Worton
  • LB Terrance Plummer
  • CB Jacoby Glenn

Keys For UCF:

  • Take away from the Missouri pass rush: UCF must counter Missouri’s strongest asset. Though it is the tallest task, the Knights will need to slow down Markus Golden and Shane Ray in order for Justin Holman to have time in the pocket.
  • Holman and wide receivers must exploit secondary: UCF’s strongest attribute is its talented wide receiving corps. Quarterback Justin Holman showed great chemistry with his receivers after entering the Knights’ only game late. UCF must match Mizzou’s strong offense in order to succeed.
  • Exploit struggling run defense: As mentioned earlier, Missouri’s defense has struggled against the run. UCF will need to see an improvement from its disappointing opening game rushing performance.