Pony Stampede TV: Football Friday Preview
What to Watch for on Offense for SMU
Offensive Line. The Cincinnati defensive front seven is extremely talented, with 11 players having registered a sack on the season. The SMU offensive line has improved and allowed quarterback Garrett Gilbert to sit back and have the type of games he has been having. Being able to neutralize the front seven will be key and if SMU can even get some production in the running game, it will help Gilbert out immensely against a really good defense.
What to Watch for on Offense for Cincinnati
Brendon Kay. The Cincinnati quarterback has thrown for 300 yards in two straight games, completing over 70 percent of his passes in those games. While the level of competition has not been that impressive, Kay has taken advantage and has improved every week. If SMU allows Kay to sit back there and have time, he is more than capable of taking advantage of the defense and tearing the pass defense apart.
What to Watch for on Defense for SMU
Secondary. It's no secret that SMU's secondary has struggled so far this year and this game rides on SMU being able to contain the quick Cincinnati receivers. If SMU can't get pressure, the weight will really fall on the secondary to step up and SMU needs them to. Kay is efficient and if he gets into a rhythm, he will be hard to stop. The defensive backs must hold up the Bearcats receivers at the line to be able have a shot at forcing some bad decisions from the senior quarterback.
What to Watch for on Defense for Cincinnati
The linebackers. While the Cincinnati defensive line is talented and athletic, it will be controlling the linebackers on the blitz and stopping them from plugging the gaps in the running game that will be key. Nick Temple is the leader at linebacker and is quick enough to move all over the field and make plays. If SMU can limit the production from the linebackers and force them into pass coverage, it will go a long way to helping Gilbert.
Key to the Game: The SMU offensive line being able to hold up against this tough front seven. No one expects them to dominate, but they must play well enough to give Gilbert time to make plays.
Prediction: SMU wins, 45-42.
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