Ranked No. 1 in the country last season, allowing opponents just 128.8 yards per game, the Frogs are currently ranked 87th in the nation in pass defense, giving up 247.3 ypg.
Robert Griffin III went 23 of 29 for 414 yards and five touchdowns in Baylor's 50-48 victory over TCU in Week 1. McDermott is no RGIII, but he is getting into a groove, averaging 283.3 ypg (SMU as a whole is averaging 321.3 passing ypg).
Before leading SMU to a 42-0 romp in Memphis last weekend, McDermott had only thrown one touchdown pass in three games. But he had three touchdowns last weekend, the longest being a 44-yarder to redshirt freshman Der'rikk Thompson.
"We've missed on a lot of [big plays] in previous games, like against UTEP," McDermott said. "We've been close a lot though and so it felt good to finally get one."
SMU needs to take advantage of a weaker secondary (by TCU standards at least) and in order for that to happen, McDermott has to be accurate.
"J.J. has done a lot of good things," June Jones said this week. "He's getting closer [to understanding all the offensive schemes], but we better play our best game this week. We're going to have to make our plays when we can and just be efficient offensively because [TCU] does a great job on defense."
Baylor had luck going over the top to get the win, throwing for 414 yards while only rushing for 150.
"Baylor has good receivers and a really good quarterback," McDermott said. "[Griffin] was throwing some catchable balls out there. The way [TCU] plays defense—the one-on-one outside and then trying to help inside—they're pretty much playing man on corners, so if you got a guy who can get up top on them, that's the way to go."
Also notable is that the Frogs have given up 232 passing yards to Louisiana Monroe and 176 to Portland State this season (Portland State was also up 3-0 after the first quarter; TCU went on to win 55-13). So if McDermott can go deep with his receivers, the Mustangs might be able to pull off an upset.
Only thing is, McDermott's main target, Cole Beasley, probably won't play due to some torn tissue in his knee.
But he still has Darius Johnson, who had 10 catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns against Memphis and Thompson, who added six catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
And it's also worth mentioning that Jeremy Johnson, who will replace Beasley, is familiar with McDermott.
"When I was behind Beas and J.J. was behind Kyle [Padron], we'd always throw together," Johnson said. "I feel comfortable with J.J. and he feels comfortable with me, too."