Notables: SMU vs. Northwestern State

The Mustangs' defense is up against an offense that had -4 rushing yards and 99 passing yards last week vs. No. 3 LSU. As long as the defense takes care of its business, and J.J. McDermott connects with his receivers, SMU will have success tonight.

What you need to know before tonight's game:

SMU (1-1) vs. Northwestern State (1-1), 7 p.m.

What SMU needs to do to win: J.J. McDermott will get his second-career start tonight. After playing solid, but not spectacular in the Mustangs' 28-17 win over conference foe UTEP, McDermott needs to connect with his receivers better tonight against a lesser opponent.

"We need to make plays on offense when we have chances to make them," coach June Jones said.

Jones blamed the stadium lights for his receivers not catching the ball as much as they should have last week, but that can't be an excuse every night game.

"We've been dealing with [the lights] for four years," Jones said. "We just gotta find the ball and catch it."

Zach Line has rushed for over 100 yards in both games so far this season, averaging 120 yards per game. Though Northwestern State played No. 3 LSU last weekend and lost 49-3, they allowed the Tigers to run for 175 yards. Line shouldn't have a problem today.

On Northwestern State's last outing: LSU annihilated them 49-3. NSU had -4 yards rushing (-0.1 yard per rush), and just 95 total offensive yards (LSU had 400 yards) on just six first downs and 56 snaps.

What to watch for from NSU: In their first game of the season against DII school Delta State, JUCO transfer quarterback Brad Henderson set a school record, completing 13 straight passes to bring his team to a 24-23 comeback win in the second half after being down by 17.

His main targets are receivers Justin Aldredge and T.C Henry and running backs Sterling Endsley, Rumeall Morris and D.J. Palmer.

Fun Fact: NSU head coach Bradley Dale Peveto played at SMU (mainly on special teams) and graduated in 1986. He participated in two bowls: in 1983 when the Mustangs lost to Alabama in the Sun Bowl and in '84 when they beat Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl. He was an assistant coach at LSU (NSU played them last week) for four seasons and was a part of the Tigers' 2007 National Championship team.

Prediction: Last week, the Mustangs held UTEP to 30 yards rushing, the lowest amount an opponent has had under Jones. SMU's front seven, lead by Taylor Thompson, Marquis Frazier and Ja'Gared Davis will need to have the same kind of run-stopping performance tonight.

SMU has allowed more than 250 passing yards in each of its first two games, so the Mustangs' secondary needs to be weary of Henderson's ability and the receivers.

The Demons are coming off a heavy beat down and are looking for some redemption. The Mustangs can't take them lightly.

SMU 35, NW State 14

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