By Zach Walker
SMU Mustangs vs. USF Bulls
Saturday – October 24 – 3:00pm CT
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
Records before the game
SMU Mustangs: 1-5 (0-2 in AAC)
USF Bulls: 3-3 (1-1 in AAC)
Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: I would love to see the bye week really pay off for the Mustangs. A time for the rust to get scraped away, the bruises to heal, and team looking rejuvenated. If anyone were to peruse Matt Davis’ stats, you’d assume the Mustangs would be a hell of a lot better than a single win team. Eleven touchdowns passing and another seven on the ground, and only two interceptions. He could be more accurate, but hasn’t had a sub fifty percent completion game this season. It’s the fumbles that are suffocating this team. It ruined their chance down in Houston for a victory over the Cougars. The team has a total of eight lost fumbles, and fumbles are always a killer, much worse than a pick, because the ball is going backwards as opposed to an interception which is downfield, by nature. If Braeden West and Matt Davis can keep the ball off the turf, and keep the chains moving, needless to say, the outcome will be much more pony friendly. I’d like to see more work coming Jeremiah Gaines’ way. The Bulls have been strong at the point of attack, in only one game (Maryland) did the Bulls not have at least six tackles for loss, and they’re getting production from all over, and a guarantee for the game, Auggie Sanchez is going to be around the ball. ADVANTAGE: SMU
When USF has the ball: The Bulls have a bull, sophomore Marlon Mack is like a Kenworth with a set of horns bolted to the grille. The man’s lowest yards per rushing game was a 4.6 yards per touch, and that was against the #11 Florida State Seminoles. Mack is a feature back, of ideal size (six foot/200 lbs.) but hasn’t found the endzone like he probably would like, with only three scores in two games. But, Mack is dominant, and likely will dominate. The Bulls don’t rely on the passing game, and it’s probably not too bad of an idea, because quarterback Quinton Flowers has only one game this season that he hasn’t thrown an interception, and along with that, they don’t really ask him to throw all over the game, with his season high in attempts being 26 throws. The Mustangs need their pass rush to show up like they did against the Cougars. They were getting good pressure, and they were getting it with their backs against the wall, when the Mustangs’ offense had given the ball away, the defense stood strong, for the most part. Lawler, McCleneghen, Wood, Green, and Gentry need to collapse the world around Flowers, and hope the linebackers can mop up Marlon Mack. ADVANTAGE: USF = Better run game
What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Play like you’re fresh. Play sharp, play strong, play smart. Take advantage of turnovers generated. Get back to running the ball, and DO NOT fumble.
Prediction: SMU 28 – USF 27