SMU Mustangs at Houston Cougars: Game Preview

The SMU Mustangs need Xavier Jones to find the end zone against Houston. Photo Courtesy: Michael Carnes
The SMU Mustangs need RB Xavier Jones to find the end zone against Houston.
Photo Courtesy: Michael Carnes
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By Zach Walker

Game Info
SMU Mustangs vs Houston Cougars
Saturday – October 7 – 6:00 p.m.
TDECU Stadium

Records before the game
SMU Mustangs: 4-1 (1-0 in AAC)
Houston Cougars: 3-1 (1-0 in AAC)

Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: I liked the way that Ben Hicks came out swinging in the opening game of conference play versus Connecticut. Hicks rhythmed extremely well with Trey Quinn in the first half, connecting over a dozen times and peppering in the dangerous Courtland Sutton along the way. That’s the way the Mustangs need to attack the ball, let the discouraging stuff open the pickle jar for the daggers to show themselves. Using Courtland Sutton as the threat to be the nightmare is the biggest way the SMU Mustangs will do damage in the American conference. Getting chunk yardage from the running game and quick, rhythmic passing game to open up the killer shot to Sutton is the move. I like Xavier Jones, I’m glad he’s back and making a difference, and I’m happy that Ke’Mon Freeman is being the bowling ball that they try and make him out to be, but getting production from Braeden West is the second key to the Mustangs’ offense. He’s genuinely shiftier, and more elusive than the other two backs. When things need to get improvised, he is the man to handle the workload. Ed Oliver is a player for the Mustangs to account for. He’s big, he’s a player, and he’s going to chase the play down from any angle that he can. He might not have jumped off the page against Temple, but against Texas Tech he was a nightmare for the Red Raiders.

When Houston has the ball: In their narrow victory over Temple, the Cougar quarterback looked pretty darn solid. Connecting with over than two thirds of his passes, but beyond that, carrying the ball fifteen times for eighty plus yards. The Cougars have three receiving threats that are capable of flipping the field versus the Mustangs. Steven Dunbar, D’Eriq King, and Linell Bonner. All three had six catches last week, and help move the chains for the Cougars. The Mustangs have a legitimate pair of play disruptors in Kyran Mitchell and Justin Lawler that coordinator Van Malone will scheme to get after the Cougars’ quarterback. Jordan Wyatt is also always looking to add to the ole’ total for turnovers.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Getting the ball into efficient situations early, then taking advantage after they have what they want established.

SMU 30 – Houston 23