By Zach Walker
#4 Baylor Bears vs SMU Mustangs
Friday – September 4 – 6:00 pm
Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas
Records before the game:
SMU Mustangs: 0-0 (0-0 in AAC)
Baylor Bears: 0-0 (0-0 in Big XII)
When SMU has the Ball
It’s going to be all about the offensive line for the Mustangs. Chauncey Briggs and Kris Weeks are the tackles and they are going to need to prepare for a first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the six foot nine inch tall, giant Shawn Oakman. There are others to worry about, but Oakman is the big problem. In the secondary, both the safety Orion Stewart and Xavien Howard both had four interceptions last season, and will have to be located by Matt Davis before each play. I’d like to see the Mustangs attack the middle of the defense with the running game, right at where Bryce Hager was a season ago, and is no longer there.
When Baylor has the Ball
Baylor has only one problem, replacing Bryce Petty and hoping not to miss a beat. But this isn’t a new problem for Art Briles, he replaced Robert Griffin with Nick Florence, and Nick with Bryce Petty and remained a very strong team season after season. I’ll assume that the quarterback will be Seth Russell, a product of Garland High School, but he’ll be joining a well familiar unit on offense. Shock Linwood, their leading rusher from last season, and two big time weapons in KD Cannon and Corey Coleman, and returning their entire offensive line from last season, including projected first round pick, left tackle Spencer Drango. If the SMU defensive line can slip through the cracks, using their speed, they can get some pressure on Baylor. Horace Richardson is going to need to be on top of his game to contain one of the Bears top options. As for containing Linwood, the Mustangs Jonathan Yenga and Robert Seals are going to need their eyes locked on Linwood for the entire game.
What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
If the Mustangs protect the ball, they won’t be reeling, having to cover their own butts all game long. If the offense can stay away from putting themselves behind the chains with stupid penalties, they can have a chance when the Mustangs are on offense. On defense, contain the running game of the Bears, and force intermediate third down situations. To be completely honest, it’ll take every SMU player on top of their game, to make this a game, because I’m sure the Bears are a three touchdown favorite in this game.
Prediction: Baylor 45 – SMU 21. I see this game going like the Texas Tech opener from two seasons ago, where it was a close game for three quarters, then the Mustangs fall off in the fourth.