Cincinnati Bearcats at SMU Mustangs: Game Preview

SMU might need to make an offering to the “Pony Express” to get their ground game going against the Bearcats.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Zach Walker

Game Info
Cincinnati Bearcats vs SMU Mustangs
Saturday – October 27 –  2:30 p.m.
TV: CBSSN
Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas, TX

Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs: 3-4 (2-1in AAC)
Cincinnati Bearcats: 6-1 (2-1 in AAC)

Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: Okay. I actually like the way that Sonny Dykes has used his two quarterbacks, Ben Hicks and William Brown. It’s being able to keep the foot on the gas, playing to each of their strengths, and not yielding anything to the defense in terms of tilting their pre-play hand towards the defense. The defense knows that Hicks isn’t going to be taking off and running, but Brown isn’t just a one-read then turn on the jets. It’s definitely something to be encouraged about for the remainder of the season, because though they’ve gone through their idle week and got to play a similarly talented Tulane team off of an extra week of preparation, it’s RIGHT back into the fire for SMU. Though the Bearcats just lost their top-25 ranking, by losing to Temple in overtime, which might not actually be better than if they were coming off of a win. This Bearcat team is going to be ready to regain some lost pride against SMU, on what looks to be probably the nicest day of the season so far, from a weather standpoint. It’s likely going to have to come through the air against Cincinnati, because the Bearcats are 20th in the nation in stopping the run, and it’s not like SMU is this great ground team, because if it isn’t Braeden West getting loose for a dagger touchdown, the Mustangs like to throw it. Though, the Bearcats are actually BETTER at pass defense than they are at stopping the run. Ninth in the nation against the pass, and that means that SMU is going to have to get something that they received VERY infrequently this season, and that’s competent, consistent quarterbacking from Ben Hicks. He’s had games where he’s playing hero, but that’s usually after he’s played some dozy drives where they’ve been stuck in neutral.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
The Mustangs have the weapons on offense to play a really strong game against the Bearcats superior defense, and the Bearcats don’t do their damage, when they have the ball, through the air, they like to really run the tires off of a team and keep opposing defenses on the field. The Mustangs need to go into this game with that same “beat Navy” mindset and gameplan, make their tackles, and scrap out a gritty upset.

Final Score
SMU 34
Cincinnati 30