SMU Mustangs (2-0, American) vs Maryland Terrapins (2-0, BIG 10)
Time and Date: 7:30 PM ET, September 17
Broadcast Network: FS1
Location: Maryland Stadium - College Park, MD
ESPN FPI: 67.4%, Maryland
Line: Maryland -3.5*
Point Total: 73*
All-Time Series: Maryland leads the all-time series against SMU, 2-0
Last Meeting: Maryland 7, SMU 0 - September 22, 1962
Current Streak: Maryland, 2
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
First year head coach Rhett Lashlee is off to a flawless start at SMU. The Mustangs are 2-0 and have looked impressive on both sides of the ball. On offense, they have accumulated over 1000 total yards and are scoring at will. On defense, SMU forced 5 turnovers and recorded 14 tackle for losses through their first two games.
SMU is led by their senior QB, Tanner Mordecai. While the signal caller came into the season with lofty expectations and appeared on half a dozen award watchlists, many wondered how the QB would adjust after Sonny Dykes moved on to TCU. It has been a seamless transition for Mordecai though. He has thrown for 644 yards and 7 TDs through two games under Lashlee, who was a former QB himself at Arkansas. Mordecai also returned his top receiver from last season, Rashee Rice.
Rice had a breakout 2021 season where he hauled in 9 receiving touchdowns. However, he is on a different level to start this season. In SMU’s last game against Lamar, a 45-16 victory, Rice had a career high 9 receptions, 110 yards, and 2 touchdowns. While these numbers are impressive regardless of the circumstances, he did this being double covered all game since he put up 166 yards on 8 receptions in the first game against North Texas.
Ultimately, SMU only has two questions coming into this game. How are they going to fare against a step up in competition? Lamar has only won one game the past three seasons at the FCS level, so a big win was expected. Also, how do they handle their first true road game of the season? The Mustangs first game of the season was an away game. However, UNT is less than 45 minutes from their campus and the Mustangs had plenty of fan support traveling with them.
Meanwhile, Maryland are looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 2016. The Terrapins take on their third straight G5 opponent before opening up their Big 10 slate against Michigan. Maryland dispatched of their Week 1 matchup, Buffalo before dominating the Charlotte 49ers, 56-21. Mike Locksley, the former Alabama OC and Broyles Award winner, appears to be building momentum in Year 4 with the Terrapins after going 7-6 and winning the Pinstripe Bowl last year.
Maryland’s dominant win against the 49ers was in large part due to their Redshirt Junior QB, Taulia Tagovailoa (Yes, the brother of the former Heisman Winner and the current Dolphins’ QB). Tagovailoa was nearly flawless as he threw for 391 yards and 4 TDs with 87.1% accuracy (27-31). If that wasn’t good enough, Tagovailoa also showed off his wheels and added a rushing TD to his impressive stat line.
If there are any concerns for Maryland, it should be their defense. Charlotte put up more points against the Terrapins than they did against Florida Atlantic. Even more concerning is that this was only 3 less points than it managed against FCS William and Mary. Furthermore, Maryland’s defense has yet to force a turnover this season and has looked questionable in pass defense. Mordecai and Rice will easily be their defense’s biggest challenge so far.
The Mustangs have a chance to win every game on their schedule because of their high powered offense. However, Maryland’s offense and their QB have taken a massive step forward this year as well. While Rhett Lashlee loses his first game as head coach, he will continue his honeymoon period at SMU by keeping the game competitive. The Terrapins take this one 38-28.