SMU Mustangs at Tulsa Golden Hurricane: Game Preview

The o-line has to do their job if SMU wants to be productive. Photo Courtesy: Sandy McAnally
The o-line has to do their job if SMU wants to be productive. Photo Courtesy: Sandy McAnally
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Watch the Mustangs take on the Golden Hurricane tonight at Big Shucks!

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By Zach Walker

Game Info
SMU Mustangs at Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Friday – October 7 – 7:00 p.m.
TV: ESPN 2
H.A. Chapman Stadium – Tulsa – Oklahoma

Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs: 2-3 (0-1 in AAC)
Tulsa Golden Hurricane: 3-1 (0-0 in AAC)

Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: After getting freight trained early in the Temple game, Ben Hicks looked like a different quarterback. That might have had something to do with being down by so much early, but he came back firing strong. However, it’s the offensive line that’s letting this side down. Hicks is a pocket passer, not much of a scrambler, so not allowing him even low-end time to find receivers. They also need to get back to providing ample rush lanes for the running backs. With Xavier Jones returning, Braeden West really taking his opportunities the distance, Ke’Mon Freeman adding some bulk, and Jordan Carmouche sprinkling some zest into the running game mix. But, it’s all about the offensive line. They are the gatekeepers for the success of the Mustangs’ offense. Chauncey Briggs has to step up as the leader, the senior of the group. Bryce Wilds, from Freeport, had a poor game against Temple just needs a bounce back, but he’s only just a redshirt freshman, so he’ll grow. Tulsa is allowing a little over 150 yards on the ground and 225 yards through the air, have collected nine sacks, four interceptions and four fumbles through their first four games. Jesse Brubaker is a heck of a defensive lineman, has a stat in pretty much every category. Behind him, linebacker Petera Wilson leads the Golden Hurricane with three and a half sacks.

When Tulsa has the ball: This matchup of Tulsa offense versus the aggressive, FBS leader in interceptions SMU secondary. The Tulsa offense is dangerous. Senior quarterback Dane Evans is a top-flight slinger of the football, and has a senior receiver in Keevan Lucas who’s coming back from an injury in 2015, who has big play potential anytime he gets the ball. Lucas is averaging almost a full one hundred yards per game and has caught five scores. On the ground, D’Angelo Brewer is crushing it. He’s racking up 133.5 yards per game, has three touchdowns and is clipping five and a half per carry. To give him a rest, James Flanders isn’t providing the opposing defense any sort of break, getting 5.3 per carry, scoring his own three touchdowns and getting sixty-four and half yards per game. The best plan for the Mustangs is to get after Evans, rattle him and get him to the ground. The Mustangs’ secondary is a solid bunch. The corners Horace Richardson and Jordan Wyatt have four interceptions a piece, and the safety Darrion Millines is both the hammer and the sickle, leading the team in tackles and adding two picks of his own.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
The offensive line has to keep Hicks comfortable. The defense has to play a solid game and capitalize on the chances that they’ll have to take. Tulsa is averaging 38.5 points per game and giving up 30 a game.

Prediction: Tulsa 41 – SMU 23