By Zach Walker
James Madison Dukes at SMU Mustangs
Saturday – September 26 – 6:00 pm CT
Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas
Records before the game:
SMU Mustangs: 1-2 (0-0 in AAC)
James Madison Dukes: 3-0 (1-0 in Colonial AA)
Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: The Mustangs are riding back home, on a cloud of quality accomplishment. Taking TCU for a great ride, and looking good while they were doing it. They didn’t constantly blow a toe off with a poorly timed penalty, they pushed against a great team, and the quarterback Matt Davis looks like a major player who appears to be in complete understanding of Chad Morris’ offense. The combination of Matt Davis and Courtland Sutton has now been established three weeks into football season, and that’s a trend, and this pass combo is trending way up. And if TCU had problems with containing Sutton, that’s something to really worry teams facing the Mustangs. Xavier Jones and Braeden West are a pretty solid tandem of dagger-type backs for a team that wants the tempo high, and Prescott Line will add the hammer in short yardage and critical situations. The Mustangs offensive line really has surprised me thus far this season not getting their quarterback killed, providing solid time for Davis to throw. There’s always room for improvement, like better push on designed runs to running backs. The James Madison team defense is allowing a pretty average 328 yards per game through three games. Sophomore defensive lineman Cornell Urquhart has three sacks coming in, and safety junior Raven Greene has 18 solo tackles in three games and a forced fumble. ADVANTAGE: SMU
When James Madison has the ball: If anyone just wants to tally this a blowout win for the Mustangs, I’d caution you to calm down. I understand though, SMU has looked good over the early part of this season, but these Dukes have shown to be a strong offense. They’ve been extremely balanced, averaging 328 yards per game rushing the football, and 323 yards passing per game. They’ve pretty much have doubled up the yards gained versus the yards they’ve given up. The Dukes have three rushers with at least 250 yards rushing, Khalid Abdullah is their leading gain back and has six rushing touchdowns. His split back, Cardon Johnson is averaging 7.7 yards per carry and has added four touchdowns of his own. The quarterback, Vad Lee, has done a great job of spreading the ball around; five receivers have over 100 yards and five receivers have a touchdown. But Lee has turned the ball over quite a lot however, throwing seven picks to only eight touchdowns thrown. The way that the Mustangs played on defense last week was pretty darn good. Yeah, it was. They forced the Horned Frogs off the field at crucial times, tackled well, and had some players step up, and I think the big thing was, hopefully, the arrival of formed Robert Seals, who was destructive against the Frogs. ADVANTAGE: SMU
What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Doing what FBS teams are supposed to do when a FCS club rolls into town, and that’s win. Don’t allow a slip up, or an oversight of this opponent, and I know that it won’t be like a couple of years ago where it took until the final drive to put away Montana State.
Prediction: James Madison 17 – SMU 52