Date: Saturday, September 29th
Kickoff time: 7 p.m. EST
Betting Line: None available, however, FPI favors SMU 98.2%
SMU’s time to fix any issues they have before conference play is now. SMU finally has their easy opponent after a ridiculously hard, front-loaded schedule that featured a strong North Texas team and ranked TCU and Michigan teams. While SMU fans should be able to relax, as the result should be in their favor, there is still a lot of things to look for in this game.
In case you missed my recap, click right here for more in-depth analysis. I was absolutely shocked to see this team hang around and eventually beat a very solid Navy team. SMU started a true freshman quarterback that was able to lead sustained drives, while adding the option of mobility to the offense. In addition to good quarterback play, Braeden West really helped this offense out on the ground by rushing for 145 yards. SMU finally put up the amount of points we were expecting at the start of the season. We even got to see the captain of the team, Ben Hicks, lead his team to victory in overtime.
Even the SMU defense played a pretty big role in the Navy game. The Midshipmen have been tearing through almost every defense they played against. But SMU was able to limit Navy to under 400 yards of total offense and came up with three turnovers. We are starting to see the leaders on the defensive side of the ball in defensive back Jordan Wyatt and linebacker Kyran Mitchell.
With all of the success SMU had last week, they have some things to work out on the offensive end. Yes the quarterback controversy, which may have appeared to be over, is back once again. I detailed in my quarterback comparison that I believe that William Brown should be the starter moving forward because of his skill set. As he proved from the previous week, he takes care of the ball and move the chains — a perfect game manager that has potential to be a big play maker. However, I did not think I would see Ben Hicks in overtime after Dykes turned to Brown. What’s even more perplexing about this situation is the fact that Ben Hicks led SMU to victory, keeping the door open for the quarterback position.
However, the offensive story line surrounding this game is who will start at quarterback. At this point, if Sonny Dykes trusts Ben Hicks enough to start the game, do not expect William Brown to play for the rest of the season. With the new red shirt rule, Brown can still get his red shirt as long as he does not play in two other games. Because of this, even though I think Brown is the better player right now, I would give Hicks the probability to start the rest of the season. I would predict Hicks starts the rest of the games this season, while Brown is Dykes safety net, in case another game like Michigan happens.
The defensive story line is cleaning up missed tackles. Kevin Kane has harped on his players for missed tackles by the defense like this one.
As you can see, a few missed tackles led to this Navy touchdown. This is a perfect tune-up game that will not only give the first team defense a chance to clean up the errors before conference play, but also give the younger players some chances to see the field.
Houston Baptist started playing football in 2013, and quickly joined Division I FCS the following year as a member of the Southland Conference. Hindered by underwhelming facilities and a lack of program history, it hasn’t exactly been easy going for HBU at the Division I level as the Huskies have yet to win more than four games in a single season.
The Huskies’ woe continue this season as they were blown out by McNeese State and Abilene Christian to start the season before beating Southwest Baptist, a Division II program from Bolivar, Missouri.
While Houston Baptist is by no means a good team, their spread offense is dangerous enough to put up points against FBS competition. Sophomore quarterback Bailey Zappe started as a true freshman last season and gave Texas State a scare in his first start. Zappe has completed 61.3% of his passes this season for 789 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Zappe is joined in the backfield by sophomore running back Dreshawn Minnieweather who is rushing for 7.8 yards per attempt this season. 6’3” wide out David Racine is also a major weapon. While Racine only has seven catches on the year, three of those have been touchdown catches.
Houston Baptist’s defense has given up a good amount of points this year but the Huskies are disruptive and have made a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. The clear standout to watch is sophomore linebacker Langston Tunson. His stat line this season is insane, with 53 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and one fumble recovery.
One last note for Houston Baptist is that they have been extremely poor in punt coverage this year as their opponents are averaging 23 yards per punt return. The Huskies simply can’t allow that to happen if they want to keep the game close this week against a more talented opponent.
So SMU fans, you should not feel any anxiety for this game. I think you should sit back and enjoy the tune up game, before wins are no longer a given. My question for the readers is: who do you think will start at quarterback. Vote in the poll or comment below!
Who should be the starting quarterback?
This poll is closed