SMU Mustangs vs Eastern Carolina Pirates Preview

The SMU Mustangs have a chance to get better on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By DaVince “Dino” Wright

Game Info
SMU Mustangs vs Eastern Carolina Pirates
Saturday – November 28 – 11:00 a.m.
TV: ESPN+
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium – Greenville, NC

Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs (7-2, 4-2 American)
Eastern Carolina Pirates (2-6, 2-5 American)

SMU was poised to take over the conference this year but have had a few hiccups. They are bowl eligible and are looking to bring prominence back to SMU football. Back in the days of the “Pony Express”, SMU was a household name. Eastern Carolina is looking to stop the Mustangs in their tracks at home this week. Let’s take a look at this week’s conference match up.

Why you should watch this game
The AAC is a pretty good conference, but not a traditional Power 5 conference. The teams that represent this conference in bowl games has wins over teams in other conferences.

Are the Mustangs for Real?
SMU has quality wins over Temple, Navy and Tulane. Remember that their non conference schedule ranks in the Top 20 of national games.

SMU Mustangs
Senior QB Shane Buechele has played lights out. When the offense needed a key play down the field, he’s made those key plays in and outside the pocket. He’s tied at 9th in the country in touchdown passes with 21, he has 2781 yards through the air with four interceptions. Running back Ulysses Bentley IV has 877 yards on the ground with 11 TDs and averages 5.6 yards a carry. The Mustang offense averages 38 points per game. They can light it up and in a hurry if needed. The defense gives up 28 points per game, but has seven sacks in their last four games.

Eastern Carolina Pirates
The Pirates are 2-6 overall, but have lost their last four out of five games. The Pirates are led by Junior QB Holton Ahlers. He has passed for 1623 yards with 14 TDs and nine interceptions. This season didn’t go the way that ECU planned it, but getting a quality win over SMU at home will be a start for next year. The defense gives up 35 points per game which leaves this team scratching their heads at times. The opposition averages 215 yards on the ground against ECU. In order for this team to get a win this week, they have to stop SMU’s running back Ulysses Bentley IV to have a chance.

Prediction
ESPN has the Mustangs with a 75% chance of winning on the road this week. The ECU defense will struggle trying to stop the run. I’m taking SMU by 17!

Final Score
SMU – 35
ECU – 18