5 Key Questions: SMU vs. Stephen F. Austin

Pony Stampede staff writer Beionny Mickles answers five key questions about SMU's home opener against SFA on Saturday

1. What are some key things SMU has to do to beat SFA?

Play well on defense. SFA can put points on the board and have legitimate talent at the quarterback and wide receiver position. SFA averaged 35 points and over 430 yards of total offense a game last year and is currently on a six game winning streak during which they have put up an average of 45 points per game. Last week junior quarterback Brad Attaway threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns and All-American wide receiver Cordell Roberson caught eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.

2. June Jones talked about the SFA front four on Tuesday. How good are they?

Very good. SFA had 48 sacks on the season in 2011 led by defensive end Willie Jefferson. In their 2012 season opener the Lumberjack defense had six sacks and 12 tackles for loss and held Southwestern Oklahoma to just 206 yards of total offense and only five rushing yards.

3. Who is a key player to watch from SFA?

Defensive end Willie Jefferson. He is 6-foot-6 234-pounds and dominated competition last year. Jefferson finished the season with 15 sacks and 15 tackles for loss. Jefferson also had two interception returns for touchdowns as well as three pass breakups. Jefferson racked a myriad of accolades including Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year after transferring from Baylor.

4. What's the one thing SMU needs to improve on heading into this game?

Pass coverage. SMU got beat all over the field against Nick Florence and the Baylor wide receivers. SMU's secondary and linebacking unit have to step up against SFA, which has a quarterback who loves to air out the rock. In their opener, 13 different receivers caught a pass from quarterback Attaway, and the SFA coaches will surely be looking at film from the SMU vs. Baylor game to try to emulate what the Baylor offense did against SMU's secondary.

5. SFA is ranked No. 19 in the FCS. Can this be a close game if SMU takes the Lumberjacks lightly?

Close game? Yes. Can SFA win? I don't think so. If SMU wakes up and comes ready to play, this should be a pretty easy victory for them. However, SMU needs to put the ball into the end zone early and cut down on the mental lapses, turnovers and penalties, which cost them the game and their chances at a perfect season last week. If they come with the right mindset, this should be a warm up for Texas A&M at home next Saturday.

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