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Houston vs. SMU Game Preview

D’Eriq King and the Cougars look to replicate last week’s performance

NCAA Football: Arizona at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, November 3rd

Start Time: 6:00pm CT

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

Line: Houston -14


Houston Preview by Joe Broback

Have you heard of D’Eriq King?

He’s now on the Heisman list after his performance last week against USF, and he’s not done yet. King has been a star all year for the Cougars, and has his team on track to represent the AAC West in the conference championship game. He will be without one of his top targets, however. Courtney Lark sustained an injury late in the game last week while trying to catch a pass in the endzone. While it wasn’t as serious as originally thought, Lark is out for Saturday. The offense shouldn’t have much trouble producing without him, but he absence will be noticeable. Expect players like Raelon Singleton and Jeremy Singleton to step up. On the other side of the ball, Houston could get back a big piece.

Ed Oliver sat out of the game on Saturday after sustaining a knee injury against Navy. He’s been listed as day-to-day so far, but it seems like he will suit up against the Mustangs. This group needs all of the help it can get. Not to mention Houston fans are trying to enjoy every moment they have left with him on their team. With the season winding down, they only get so many more opportunities.

It will be more of the same for Houston on Saturday. Watch King dominate, and hope that the defense can keep SMU off the scoreboard enough. With SMU being a big unknown so far this year, it’s difficult to say which Mustangs team will show up.

Houston 49 SMU 42

SMU Preview by Nicholas Armstrong

Last week’s performance against Cincinnati was disappointing. While there were some positives, the negatives outweighed them easily. Here are some of the key stats from that game:

  • Six three-and-outs
  • One missed field goal
  • A pick-six in overtime.

My point is that SMU did not have their best game against Cincinnati. It cost them dearly as they took the loss in a game they should have won. While they should have won, it is to be expected that a low 20 point total would win them the game.

It only gets more difficult from here. The Mustangs now face a Houston team that is going to be out with a chip on their shoulder. Houston just knocked off No. 21 USF at home and has continued to score 40 points each game. To counter this high-powered Houston offense, SMU is going to have to play a complete game.

On offense, Ben Hicks needs to get the ball to his athletes in space. If he can get James Proche and Reggie Roberson going, SMU might have a fighting chance to score. They cannot be too one dimensional though. Houston did a pretty good job in containing USF’s potent offense through the air. Xavier Jones and Braeden West have to get involved in the rushing attack and take advantage of Ed Oliver potentially not playing. Essentially, SMU cannot afford to take a series off. If SMU goes three-and-out multiple times, the game will end quickly.

On defense, SMU has to perform the way they did against Cincinnati. While Desmond Ridder is no D’Eriq King, the Mustangs did a good job in neutralizing a good offense. SMU was able to force turnovers and stall out drives against the Bearcats. The same must happen here. The defensive line needs to close the running lanes for D’Eriq King to take off. If they cannot, the x-factor on defense then will be Kyran Mitchell. If he and the other linebackers are able to contain King, the Mustangs will have a chance.

I’m not expecting a whole lot from SMU this game. Houston’s beat teams that are far better than the Mustangs this season. I’m not as bullish on SMU as my colleague is. Outside of the Houston Baptist game, SMU has only scored over 30 once and it was against Navy in overtime. Compare that to Houston’s 40+ points every game and that is a recipe for disaster. Houston should win big.

Houston 56-27