Pony Stampede TV: Football Friday Preview
SMU vs. Rutgers Preview
By Billy Embody
What to Watch for on Offense for SMU
Offensive Line. Rutgers' defense, although nicked up, likes to move around and show a bunch of different looks so communication will be key. Rutgers had a week extra to prepare for SMU's spread offense, an offense that Rutgers struggled to defend when they faced Fresno State. SMU's offensive line has struggled with protection and has experimented with different group of starters this week. Freshman Daniel McCarty looks like he will be inserted into the lineup to start. If SMU's offensive line can get it together against Rutgers it will go a long way to getting the offense moving.
What to Watch for on Offense for Rutgers
The Running Game. Paul James went out with an injury and that really hurts this pro-style offense, but Savon Huggins will take the lead this week to try and replicate that production. Gary Nova will be forced to take more on as the running game could struggle. Savon Huggins is a former five-star recruit so the talent is there, but the Rutgers offensive line also has struggled. If they can sort out their issues, the running game could come alive again.
What to Watch for on Defense for SMU
The linebackers. SMU will have to match up against Rutgers tight end Tyler Kroft as well as worry about the running game. Kroft will have to be covered by either Stephon Sanders or Robert Seals so watch to see how the linebackers handle the 6-foot-6 Kroft. If the linebackers can shoot the gaps and control the line of scrimmage, Nova will be forced to beat SMU with his arm. Kroft poses some serious matchup problems, but the SMU linebackers are athletic enough to keep him at bay.
What to Watch for on Defense for Rutgers
Injuries. SMU has been banged up, but Rutgers has had their fair share of injuries as well so watch to see how Rutgers' depth is on defense. Outside linebacker Jamal Merrell is out and so is cornerback Gareef Glashen so that leaves Rutgers with true freshmen starting at corner now. It will be interesting to see just how SMU takes advantage of Rutgers' injuries and youth in the secondary.
Key to the Game
Turnovers. SMU has to force Gary Nova to make some bad throws to get the SMU offense as many chances as possible to score.
Prediction: Rutgers wins, 24-17.
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