Kickoff: Saturday, October 5th 6:30 PM CST
Location: Gerald J. Ford Field, Dallas TX
Betting: SMU -13, O/U 64
All Time Series: SMU leads 14-11 (Last meeting 2018: SMU 24 - 27 Tulsa)
The #24 SMU Mustangs will take on 2-2 Tulsa this Saturday in Dallas with an opportunity to reach bowl eligibility this week. Cracking the rankings for the first time in over 3 decades is huge news for this program and they’ll be motivated to show the country that this isn’t just a hot start to the season but that this SMU team has legitimate talent and they’re where they should be.
In 2018, SMU closed out the season against Tulsa who handed the Mustangs their 7th loss of the season, subsequently eliminating them from bowl eligibility last year; sort of ironic that SMU could clinch their 6th win of the season to become bowl eligible against that same team in 2019.
At the beginning of this season, SMU was expected to have had improved in the offseason and fight for bowl eligibility in a competitive AAC. At this point in the season, SMU has shifted expectations to win the AAC West and compete for a conference championship. The Mustangs must continue knocking off conference opponents and maintain consistency on both sides of the ball. With a home game against Temple and road trips to Houston and Memphis in the coming weeks, SMU cannot take their eye off the ball as they enter the most important portion of their season.
This year’s game will be much different. SMU heads into week 6 with an offense averaging 44.4 points per game (9th best in the country). SMU should be able to impose their will on a Tulsa defense that is ranked 67th in the country in points allowed per game. SMU has put up over 40 points in all but one game this season and I don’t think that trend will stop this week.
Xavier Jones should have a big day on a Tulsa defense that is allowing over 175 yards per game on the ground. Jones impacts the game with his explosiveness, averaging exactly 6.0 yards per carry this season. If SMU can own the line of scrimmage Jones should not have a problem running on this Tulsa defense.
Look for Shane Buechele to continue to be Mr. Consistency through the air this week. Tulsa is only allowing just over 202 yards through the air per game which is pretty respectable really, especially when you consider they’ve played Michigan State and Oklahoma State. OK State QB Spencer Sanders only went 12/22 for 169 yards, 1TD and 1 INT against Tulsa. I know Spencer Sanders is a freshman and he’s not exactly known for being a prolific passer but he’s still a pretty good QB. Shane Buechele presents Tulsa’s biggest test so far this season for the Tulsa secondary.
I expect James Proche and Reggie Roberson Jr. to get the ball often and continue their dominance on the Tulsa secondary.
Tulsa on paper is a pretty interesting team sitting at 2-2. Their 2 losses came to (then ranked #18) Michigan State and (currently ranked #21) Oklahoma State. Both of Tulsa’s wins have come against San Jose State and Wyoming. SMU will obviously be a tough matchup for Tulsa but look for the Golden Hurricane to put up a fight early.
Tulsa QB Zach Smith threw for 354 yards against Wyoming 2 weeks ago (Tulsa had a bye week last week) which he means he is capable of playing well if given time in the pocket. The SMU front 7 must win the battle at the line of scrimmage and pressure Smith often. If the SMU defense can successfully hold Smith from getting into a rhythm on offense it will be hard for Tulsa to score with SMU.
Tulsa running back Shamari Brooks has run for over 100 yards in 2 of the last 3 games chalking up 4 TDs in that same span.
Tulsa is a decent team that could put up a fight against SMU on Saturday. However, SMU is clearly the better team so don’t expect SMU to skip a beat this week. SMU is averaging 44.4 points per game and Tulsa is averaging 21.5, meaning the gap in average points per game is 22.9 points. SMU is only a 13 point favorite so maybe Vegas knows something we don’t?
SMU covers the spread and the over hits. SMU wins 45-27
If you like those old ESPN commercials where the athletes work in the ESPN office you’ll like this insta post from the SMU athletic dept.