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Memphis at SMU Game Preview

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SMU is in first in the West, while Memphis thinks about what could have been.

NCAA Football: Southern Methodist at Memphis Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Friday, November 16th

Time: 7:00pm CT

Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas, TX)

Line: Memphis -8.5


Memphis Outlook

Imagine if Memphis hadn’t lost to Navy. Maybe they win the Tulane game, and maybe that means they’re in first place by themselves in the West. No use playing the “what if” game now, but it’s interesting to think about. A season that appeared to be filled with a bunch of frustrations suddenly is hopeful. Memphis needs some help, but they can keep the dream alive with a win.

Like many teams in the conference, it comes down to defense. This is a group that has a ton of experience at every position, but one that also can’t seem to turn that experience into success. Facing an offense like SMU’s won’t make life easier, so it’s time to step up in a big way.

A player not getting talked about enough is Damonte Coxie. While Darrell Henderson deserves the spotlight, Coxie’s play has been phenomenal as well. He’s emerged as a top target, which is something we thought would happen given his performances last season. This offense continues to be tough to stop, and that’s not surprising given the number of weapons available.

SMU Outlook

Ben Hicks was supposed to be one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, but quickly became and afterthought on his own team just a month into the season. He got another chance, and has his team in first in the AAC West. What’s even more bizarre about Hicks’ situation is that he’s only thrown four interceptions this year. With how the year was going, it seemed like he had already thrown triple that amount.

SMU’s offense has continued to rely on the passing game, which isn’t surprising except for when you realize they had all three of their running backs returning and just one experienced receiver. James Proche has taken over the role as the go-to guy for Hicks, but will he dominate the Tigers? Last year, he was the leading receiver for SMU in the game, but it was the rushing attack that took over. Xavier Jones, a large afterthought so far this year, rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He has just 303 yards this year. Braeden West has taken over as the leading rusher for the Mustangs, but still shares the backfield with Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman.

Prediction

For those expecting another 66-48 shootout like last year, that’s probably not going to happen. Still, both offense can score at a high rate. Memphis has nothing to lose, and the Mustangs suddenly have a lot. Will SMU be able to handle the pressure?

Memphis 31 SMU 30