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SMU Mustangs vs Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks: Preview & Prediction

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SMU returns to Gerald J. Ford Stadium for their 2020 home opener against Stephen F. Austin

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 19 SMU at North Texas
SMU looks to move to 3-0 this weekend in this year’s home opener
Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Start Time: Saturday 9/26 6:00PM CST

Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium Dallas, TX

Weather: 86 degrees, Clear

Betting Line: SMU -34.5


SMU

After cruising to their second win of the season last week against North Texas, SMU hosts Stephen F. Austin this weekend. It looks like the SMU offense worked out the kinks in week 2 and is performing at a high level again this year under the leadership of QB Shane Buechele.

SMU has shown they have a plethora of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that I doubt will be slowed down by the Stephen F. Austin defense. Through 2 games the Mustangs are averaging 627 yards per game of total offense, striking on big play after big play. More of the same should be expected on Saturday. Shane Buechele will likely eclipse the 1,000 yard passing mark for the season and should have a big day. Buechele is currently the leading passer in the nation (I know, we haven’t really had lots of the big P5 teams play multiple games yet) with 711 yards through the air. RB Ulysses Bentley IV is currently ranked 2nd in rushing yards and is T-1st in rushing TDs with 5 so far. Lots of different guys will get touches Saturday and the SMU offense will cruise.

SMU’s defense will not struggle to stop the Lumberjacks but must use this game to tighten things up before Memphis comes to town next weekend. SMU is giving up on average 467 yards per game to opposing offenses right now which won’t fly next week against Memphis. The SMU defense must get better pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Mustangs only have 3 sacks so far this season, last season they finished with 51 team sacks which was T-1st in the country.

SMU v Texas State
SMU QB Shane Buechele currently leads the country in passing yards
Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Stephen F. Austin

The Lumberjacks have faced UTSA and UTEP this season losing to both in previous weeks. Stephen F. Austin put up a fight in their previous matchups but unfortunately SMU is a much higher caliber team than UTSA and UTEP. The last time these two teams played was 2017 and SMU won 58-14. I know 2020 is a different season but SMU is a better team than they were a few years ago.

If the Lumberjacks want any chance at all of an upset they will have to try and disguise coverages on Shane Buechele and hope he makes mistakes they can capitalize on.

The Lumberjacks will need a huge day on both sides of the ball to pull the massive upset. An impact player to watch for the Lumberjacks is safety Myles Heard, who has 17 tackles, 1 INT, and 1 forced fumble so far this season.


Unfortunately for Stephen F. Austin, SMU found their offensive rhythm last week and I doubt they’ll struggle against an FCS team in this season's home opener. It’s possible that SMU could be looking ahead to next week’s game against Memphis which is one of the biggest games of SMU’s season but this one looks to be a blowout.

Final Score: SMU 55 - SFA 10