By Zach Walker
South Florida Bulls vs. SMU Mustangs
Saturday – November 15 – 7:00 pm
TV: CBS Sports Network
Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas
Records before the game
SMU Mustangs: 0-8 (0-4 in AAC)
South Florida Bulls: 3-6 (2-3 in AAC)
Two players for both teams, to watch
QB Matt Davis – In terms of what Davis brings to the SMU offense, and subsequently, the entire Mustang team is spectacular. He balances the possession game, both in team drives and in possession time. Shows a willingness to attempt to stretch the field, and combined with KC Nlemchi, an ability to be more than dangerous in the screen and option game. Prescott Line also looks energized, with the hammer to pick up the tough four yards to pick up for the first down. Davis brings excitement, and change, and most importantly chance, a chance to win.
LB Jonathan Yenga – Two reasons why I’m going to keep watching Yenga this weekend. First, he’s going to want to both, distance himself from the Taunting penalty that really hurt the Mustangs at the end of the Tulsa game, and embrace it and put it towards the Bulls. Second, the Bulls have won every game in which Marlon Mack has rushed for 100 or more yards.
South Florida Bulls
RB Marlon Mack – The most talented and productive back in the American conference, is the true freshman Marlon Mack. Mack lead the AAC in rushing yards (828), rush yards per game (92), and rushing touchdowns (9). Like Tulsa’s Keevan Lucas, Mack had a monster season opener, 275 yards off of 24 carries and scored four touchdowns, three of them being home runs of over 50 yards (62,60,56). Mack’s attack might be more motivated for this game, because the Mustangs are allowing 236.9 yards per game on the ground.
LB Nigel Harris – Now that the Mustangs look like they have something new on offense, and that they’re going to keep the ball on the ground more often, the Mustangs are going to have to reckon with USF’s Nigel Harris. 30 pounds heaftier than they saw a season ago, and Harris plays with his bulk. Harris leads the nation in forced fumbles with 5, and leads his team with 7 and half tackles for loss. With Matt Davis’ play-extending ability, at times, he sacrifices ball security, and Harris could have a big game.
What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Win the turnover battle. Tulsa got a touchdown off of Matt Davis’ interception, and SMU could have really used those points. Davis has to play smarter with the ball, and just continue to play exciting football.
Prediction: USF 17 – SMU 28: If this team is to only win one game, let it be the Homecoming game. Knowing what they have in Matt Davis, the offense can keep the game short and limit the Bulls’ opportunities with the ball.