Coming off another bye week, SMU plays a tough conference foe in the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats clinched their seventh bowl bid in eight years with a 34-21 victory over a Memphis, a team that SMU struggled to close out. Cincinnati will be a tough opponent for SMU. Winning on the road will be a tall task for the Mustangs, but here are the five players that they will have to control if they are to win the game.
1. LB Nick Temple- Listed generously at 5-foot-10, 218-pounds, Temple does not look like the most intimidating player on Cincinnati's loaded defense. But in his second full season as a starter, Temple is a complete defender who can give an offensive coordinator fits. He has 40 tackles this season including eight for loss and four sacks. As if that weren't enough, Temple is a solid pass defender. He has one interception, one blocked pass and two passes defended. He also has shown an ability to knock the football loose with one forced fumble this season. SMU will have to be aware of his location on the field at all times on Saturday.
2. RB Hosey Williams- Williams is the second running back in the three-runner rotation for Cincinnati -R.D. Abernathy starts and Tion Green gets a good chunk of the carries as well. But Williams is the Bearcat runner with breakaway ability. His long-run this season was for a 77-yard touchdown. He has 362 yards on the ground this season (5.7 per carry) and four touchdowns. While all three running backs are dangerous running the football, Williams and crew are not a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield. Collectively, they have 13 receptions for 86 yards.
3. WR Anthony McClung- McClung is one of four Bearcat receivers who average at least 40 yards per game. The senior McClung has 28 receptions for 364 yards and four touchdowns this season. McClung is as consistent as they come and uses his smarts and footwork to elude defenders rather than overwhelming them with physical gifts. McClung will be a different challenge for SMU than they have faced for most of this season, and with the range of talent at the receiver position for quarterback Brendon Kay, he will often be open and ready to hurt the poor SMU secondary.
4. DL Silverberry Mouhon- At 6-foot-4, 248-pounds, Mouhon is a monster on the defensive line for Cincinnati. The redshirt sophomore has just 22 tackles but 5.5 sacks. He has six additional quarterback hurries and one forced fumble. SMU's offensive line has picked up the slack during the last two games, but Mouhon will be a challenge for the unit this week.
5. CB Devin Drane- Drane is Cincinnati's best pass defender. The senior has been consistently good for the Bearcats for the past three seasons. He recorded three interceptions and nine pass breakups in his first season as a regular player and has improved in the two years since then. He has two interceptions this season, both returned for more than 35 yards. He also has two pass breakups and four passes defended.
5 Cincinnati Players To Watch
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