SMU Keys to Victory

Coming off an open date, SMU should be well-rested for today's home game vs. Marshall, and it's a huge game for the Mustangs for multiple reasons, including the fact that it's Senior Day. With that in mind, Sr. linebacker Pete Fleps - the second-leading tackler on the squad - hopes to have a banner outing in his final regular-season game in front of the home crowd. What are the keys to victory?

Although SMU has dropped three of its last four, there was a silver lining for the Mustangs last week when Tulsa defeated Houston. That win by the Golden Hurricane put the Ponies back in the driver's seat in C-USA West, and now SMU just needs to go out on the field and take care of business to maintain first place in the West.

What will it take to accomplish that feat?

1. HIGH HOPES FOR MOORE - Star SMU corner Sterling Moore, in an interview with PonyStampede.com's Josh Harvey, sounded upbeat and optimistic about his return to the field this week, and the senior's presence couldn't come at a better time.

The secondary has sorely missed Moore, a player who seems to be infectious with his enthusiasm, not to mention his ability to make the huge play -- such as his pick-six versus TCU earlier this year.

Marshall QB Brian Anderson has thrown 11 interceptions. Let's hope that Moore, who owns 1/3 of the Mustangs' picks, gets the 12th.

2. TURN UP THE PRESSURE -- Speaking of the Marshall quarterback, he's been afforded fine protection from his offensive line, and that's helped the senior connect on six touchdown passes over the past two games.


Ja'Gared Davis
Anderson can get rattled, however, as evidenced by his seven combined picks in losses to Bowling Green and East Carolina.

Ja'Gared Davis (with 8.5) has half of SMU's 17 sacks, and the linebacker is also easily the leader in tackles for loss (13.5).

At first glance, it would appear that Davis and his co-horts would be rushing the passer all afternoon -- with Marshall being No. 111 in the nation in rushing -- but Tulane came into its game vs. SMU with similarly poor ground-game stats (and the Wave enjoyed great success running the ball in the first half vs. the Mustangs).

At any rate, Marshall hasn't given up many sacks, so it's time (at 2:00 P.M.) to change that trend.

3. MOVE THE CHAINS -- Sounds simple, right?


Zach Line
Move the football, win the game, and let's hope that's the case this afternoon for SMU.

If the Mustangs perform like they did against UTEP - managing only 14 points - then it could be a long day against a Marshall defense that has seen plenty of talent this year; the Thundering Herd took on Ohio State and West Virginia to open the year.

On the other hand, QB Kyle Padron and the offense flashed their big-play capability a few weeks ago in the Tulane game, scoring 28 unanswered points in the second half of a come-from-behind win.

Running back Zach Line has been a steady force and his absence -- after getting banged-up -- in the second half of the UTEP game was palpable.

An open date is boring for the fans (and probably the players as well), but it couldn't have come at a better time for SMU.

With the extra week off, the players should have fresh legs and some injuries will have mended significantly.

4. SENIORS SHOW OFF -- The temperatures have cooled; fall is in the air; Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The regular-season is already winding down and this is the final regular-season chance for the seniors, such as hard-hitting linebacker Pete Fleps, to put on a show in front of the home crowd.

They'll likely make the most of it.


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