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#16 SMU Mustangs at Houston Cougars: Preview & Prediction

SMU should win this one by a lot. Like a lot a lot.

#16 SMU travel to Houston for a Thursday night AAC West showdown
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019

Kickoff Time: 7:30 PM ET

Location: TDECU Stadium, Houston, TX

Watch: ESPN

All-Time Series: Houston leads 21-12-1

Last Meeting: 11/3/18 - SMU 45 - Houston 31

Betting Lines: SMU -13.5, O/U 67.5

SMU Mustangs Outlook

SMU continues to roll through opponents this season with Temple being their latest victim last week. The Mustangs look to continue their unbeaten run this season with a road trip to Houston in Week 9.

The Mustang offense hit on all cylinders last week against Temple with Shane Buechele setting career highs in passing yards and touchdowns, finishing 30-for-53 for 457 yards, six touchdowns and one interception. Reggie Roberson Jr. also had a career day catching eight balls for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Last Saturday, we saw what SMU’s offense looks like at full power and the Mustangs hope to carry that momentum into Houston this weekend. James Proche led the team in receptions with 9 and added another TD putting his season total at eight touchdowns.

Shane Buechele has now eclipsed the 2,000 passing yard mark this season and ranks 7th in the country in passing yards. SMU’s offense shouldn’t skip a beat this week as they face a Houston defense allowing 470 total yards per game to opposing offenses.

An interesting note: Shane Buechele is currently ranked ahead of Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts and Texas QB Sam Ehlinger in passing yards so far this season.

Xavier Jones carried the ball 29 times totaling 105 yards rushing against a stout Temple defense which shows SMU is committed to the balanced offense approach. Jones added a receiving TD against Temple as well.

The SMU defense has stopped the run well this year but Houston’s rushing attack presents a formidable threat. The Coogs rank 22nd in the country in rushing offense averaging just under 222 yards per game. If SMU can stop the run on Saturday it will be tough for Houston to score against a defense that stifled Temple rushing attack (69 yards) last week. SMU only allowed 273 total yards to Temple which is pretty impressive.

The Mustangs must make Houston throw to maintain the advantage on defense. SMU safety Patrick Nelson added two more sacks to his tally for the season now totaling 7.5 sacks. Nelson is tied for 10th in the country in sacks this and is the highest ranked defensive secondary player in sacks.

Shane Buechele is only 3 TD passes away from matching his career high for TD passes in a season.
Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Houston Cougars Outlook

Where to begin. We’ll keep this short and sweet. Houston’s roller coaster season continues, and there appear to be more valleys than peaks this year. They now face the best team in the AAC, and things could get ugly if the Coogs aren’t ready for the challenge.

NCAA Football: Houston at Connecticut
Holgorsen might play again, but needs to show improvement.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback play remains a question, and Clayton Tune’s health will be a hot topic up until the game starts. Bryson Smith and Logan Holgorsen split time at quarterback, and it wasn’t pretty last week. It didn’t help that the offensive line also played poorly, so both must get better if they want to hang around. The biggest test, though, remains for the defense.

If you haven’t watched the SMU offense, you’re missing a real treat. Shane Buechele, Xavier Jones, James Proche, and Reggie Roberson are four of the best players at their respective positions, and that’s in all of college football. Houston’s defense hasn’t been exactly stout, and the Mustangs passing attack will give them trouble. A lack of depth in the secondary could result in an early undoing for Houston, and they can only really hope to keep things close.



Read above. It’s tough to see a result that doesn’t have the Mustangs winning big. Damarion Williams and Houston’s secondary have their hands full, and it could be a long night for the Coogs. An upset would certainly be eye opening, but don’t get your hopes up.

SMU 49 Houston 21


Look for SMU to have success through the air Saturday. If SMU can execute their balanced offensive attack they should have no problem coming out of Houston with a win. SMU’s defense will have to stop the Houston rushing attack effectively to keep their win streak alive. Houston will be motivated to play a big game against a ranked opponent at home to try and move closer to bowl eligibility a secure a signature win in the 2019 season.

Houston’s losses this season have all come against pretty good teams, unfortunately for the Cougars, SMU is also a very good team. SMU has only scored less than 40 points once this season and that was week 1 against Arkansas State; I don’t see that streak ending this week.

SMU 45 Houston 31