What to Watch on Offense for SMU
Garrett Gilbert and the receivers to improve. If there is any game to get the passing game going, it is against Tulane. Their defense is horrible, and the SMU offense has been waiting for a game to really flex their muscles. The offense has plenty of kinks to work out on the way to finding the balance this team is looking for on offense and Gilbert is the player that has to step up. Gilbert must build some confidence going into the teeth of the conference schedule and continuing to develop his timing with his receivers will be a big focus in this game for the Mustangs.
What to Watch on Offense for Tulane
The possible return of a running game. Tulane running back Orleans Darkwa is still very questionable for the game against SMU, but if he can go, Tulane will return one of the better running backs in C-USA. Tulane averages a dismal 14.6 yards per game rushing and if Darkwa can return, that will certainly help. If not, the weight of carrying the offense will remain on the quarterback for Tulane. Senior Ryan Griffin is expected back this week after a shoulder injury. Griffin did play well earlier this season against Rutgers and could help jumpstart the Tulane offense.
What to Watch on Defense for SMU
Dominance. If there is a team that SMU's defense can manhandle and dominate, the Tulane offense is it. SMU's defense is coming off a great performance against UTEP and will look to build off of that. Last week's Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week Randall Joyner, had a breakout game and even if senior Cameron Rogers can go, expect Joyner to be a big part of the SMU game plan. Ja'Gared Davis is another terror on the defensive side of the ball and will be looking to replicate his performance against UTEP, which saw him return an interception for a touchdown for the first time in his career. If SMU can get pressure on Griffin, it will be another long game for Tulane.
What to Watch on Defense for Tulane
Trying to contain Line. Tulane head coach Curtis Johnson made no secret about what Tulane must do to stop the SMU offense and that is to stop senior running back Zach Line. The Green Wave is giving up over 42 points per game, but the front four for Tulane has plenty of talent to get pressure on Gilbert. Johnson talked about having certain packages to stop the running game with five down linemen and having a nickel package to contain the passing game. If Johnson's staff puts together the right game plan, Tulane has the chance to make SMU's struggle on offense continue.
Key to the Game
SMU feeds Zach Line the ball, for the first half, before he plays sparingly in a blowout victory.
Prediction: SMU, 42-0
Game Preview: SMU vs. Tulane
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