Keys to the Game: UConn vs. SMU

Your SMU Mustangs are 3-1, their only loss came to newly minted playoff contender TCU. The last time SMU started 3-1 was 2011. SMU welcome UConn to Ford Stadium on Saturday, here are few keys:

There is a path

SMU ran for 314 yards in their win over Arkansas State last weekend, the most productive rushing day since 2015. SMU can be an offensive juggernaut. The Mustangs have the skill position on the outside and the running back depth to cause just about anyone problems. Pick your poison when you play the Mustangs. Based on performance, the Mustangs would rather put the ball in the hands of their rush attack. That let's quarterback Ben Hicks take a complementary rather than a primary role. 

Welcome Back Mr. Jones

The Mustang run game has benefitted greatly from the return of Xavier Jones. Jones missed most of 2016 with leg and shoulder injuries. He's back and looking like a feature back. Jones averages almost six yards a carry and combines with Ke'Mon Freeman and Braeden West to form the best SMU running back group since Dickerson, James, and Dupard. Jones rushed for a career-high 146 yards against the Red Wolves last weekend and is on pace for a career season. 

Still need some D in Dallas. 

SMU's defense is still a work in progress. The Mustangs are 103rd in total defense and 93rd in scoring defense. An early FCS date bolsters Those numbers with Stephen F. Austin. UConn is decent offensively; they Huskies average almost 30 points a game. For a Randy Edsall team that's a scoring splurge. Arkeel Newsome, Nate Hopkins, and Kevin Mensah give UConn a nice rushing threat while quarterback Bryant Shirreffs looks like he's stabilized the quarterback position. The Huskies sit 24th in the FBS in yards per game and 25th in passing yards. UConn should give SMU's defense another test. 

Notes and Numbers

  • UConn and SMU have met three times, with SMU winning all three. 
  • SMU beat UConn in the legendary Miracle on Mockingbird, in SMU's first collegiate win post-death penalty. 
  • UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs is just the fifth Huskie player to top 5,000 yards of total offense. 
  • In three game UConn has had three different 100 yard rushers. 
  • Ben Hicks moved into the top in passing yards in SMU history last week. 
  • Braeden West picks up five or more yards in 59% of his rush attempts. 

The Roundup...

Posted on September 27, 2017 and filed under Southwest Round-Up, SMU.