Houston Cougars vs. SMU Mustangs Preview

The SMU Mustangs prepare for their last home game of the season on Friday. Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling
The SMU Mustangs prepare for their last home game of the season on Friday. Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling

By Zach Walker

Game Info
Houston Cougars vs. SMU Mustangs
Friday – November 28 – 11:00 am
TV: CBS Network
Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas

Records before the game:
SMU Mustangs: 0-10 (0-6 in AAC)
Houston Cougars: 6-4 (4-2 in AAC)

Two players for both teams, to watch:

SMU Mustangs
QB Matt Davis
– I’ll assume that pulling Matt Davis out of the UCF game, was just to save him from himself, and keep him from further discouraging play (like more fumbles). Davis must avoid the big mistake, like in the USF game, where the offense didn’t turn the ball over, and SMU was a +2 in turnover differential. He needs to be cool, take the rushes when they open up and take the shots downfield when the coverage allows.

LB Jonathan Yenga – Yenga is the beast in the middle and his sack of Justin Holman at UCF is how they need to attack the rushing game of the Houston Cougars. It was a delay blitz, and Yenga had a lane straight at the quarterback to mop up a sack. The linebackers need to step up in the game versus a strong running game, Kevin Pope, Stephon Sanders, Yenga, and Robert Seals, are all going to be very busy on Friday.

Houston Cougars
QB Greg Ward Jr.
– John O’Korn, the six foot four quarterback, started the season, and after four underwhelming performances, he was replaced by the five foot eleven Greg Ward Jr. O’Korn was at under 60 percent completion percentage where Ward is operating at a cool 71.3 percentage for his six games. Ward is also a slasher quarterback, like Matt Davis, and is working with a 4 yards per carry average and has seriously boosted the Cougars’ running game. Ward is a contain-only quarterback, because if he gets past the line, it could get really dangerous for the Mustangs’ defense.

RB Kenneth Farrow – In combination with Ryan Jackson and Ward, the Cougars have a seriously formidable rushing attack. Of the six Houston wins, five games have a runner with over 95 yards rushing. Farrow has been the work-horse, and only in the Temple victory, has he been held to a below 3 per carry average in a win. The best gauge of how the game will end up going for the Mustangs will be how they handle Farrow, if they keep him from taking huge chunks out of the field with each carry, the Mustangs can keep the game close.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
I’d say rush five on every play on defense, plug every gap, and leave a spy for the clean-up of anything that might slip through and take the chances with one on one coverage in the secondary.

Prediction: Houston 31 – SMU 14
I’d love to be wrong, but Houston is a strong offense. I’d like the see these seniors on defense take this game over for the Mustangs in their final home game.