If it feels like it has been a month since the last time the Memphis Tigers took the field, well, it has. The Tigers make a long-awaited return to the field this weekend in a key American Athletic Conference game against the SMU Mustangs after 28 days. Such is life in a college football season in the COVID era. Meanwhile, the Mustangs have three games under their belts, and the offense certainly looked more polished in their last two outings after a rough season debut. Nonetheless, SMU and Memphis are a pair of unbeaten looking to establish themselves early on in the AAC standings.
Memphis at SMU
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 3 at 3:30 p.m.
Spread: Memphis -2.5
When Memphis Has the Ball
As far as offense goes, Memphis is still expected to have one of the best in the AAC this season. Quarterback Brady White had four touchdown passes in the Tigers’ season-opening victory against Arkansas State. While his top wide receiver option will tend to be Damonte Coxie, it was Sean Dykes who had the breakout performance in the only game played by Memphis this season (10 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns). As long as Memphis doesn’t have some rust from an unusual layoff, expect the Tigers to have little problem moving the football and for Memphis to put a few points on the scoreboard.
When SMU Has the Ball
Senior Shane Buechele is off to a solid start throwing the football as well, but one of the bust-out players for the Mustangs early on as been freshman running back Ulysses Bentley IV. In three games, Bentley leads SMU with 380 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, earning him conference honors in back-to-back weeks. SMU is one of three AAC teams averaging over 500 yards of offense per game, with UCF and Memphis being the other two.
This one has all the makings for a good old-fashioned track meet. Both Memphis and MSU have the ability to make some big plays on offense, so the yards and points should rack up quickly. SMU being in more of a routine lately may bode well for them in this particular situation, though, as Memphis will have to find a way to find their form quickly after an extended layoff. If the Mustangs get off to a slow start, they won’t be out of the game, but if SMU takes advantage of a slow start by the Tigers, it may be difficult for Memphis to come back.
Prediction: SMU 42, Memphis 37
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