What to watch for when SMU is on offense
Improvement at offensive line. SMU can’t possibly be any worse than it was at Baylor, giving up nine sacks and the SMU quarterbacks couldn’t set up to throw it. The North Texas defensive line is inexperienced and struggled a bit against Texas. With four new starters along the defensive line for UNT and SMU still trying to nail down their five, it should be a good battle of players trying to prove themselves to their respective staffs.
What to watch for when North Texas is on offense
Josh Greer. SMU had tried to land Greer before landing current starting quarterback Neal Burcham. Both have taken two completely different paths with Greer going to North Texas via Navarro College and Burcham waiting his turn to start until late last year. Both struggled in their openers, but Greer was pulled in favor of Andrew McNulty, who didn’t fare better. Watch for UNT to get the short passing game going early to try and get Greer in a groove. He’ll be out to prove a lot after SMU passed up a chance to have him come to the Hilltop.
What to watch for when SMU is on defense
The secondary. SMU very nearly had three interceptions against Baylor and will be looking to replicate that against North Texas. The secondary played relatively good coverage and limited big plays well. Against the quarterbacks of UNT, expect the defensive backs to be trying to make some big plays early to set SMU up with good field position. SMU’s defense will be much more athletic than UNT’s linemen and expect them to show that with their rotation upfront.
What to watch for when North Texas is on defense
How the inexperience affects them. With a few new faces along the defensive line and at linebacker even, North Texas will be put to the test by the better athletes of SMU. If recruiting rankings mean anything, SMU should have the better athletes and will give UNT problems when SMU gets them in space on those bubble screens. North Texas always plays with an edge and especially in this game, an edge and fire may just win the day. Look for SMU to mix it up a bit in their playcalling. Even with the short drives against Baylor, I thought the playcalling was a good mix of a few shots, a few intermediate routes, quick outs, screens and a couple draw plays. Watch for SMU to keep that going against this young front 7.
Key Matchup: UNT secondary vs. SMU receivers
SMU has solid experience just like UNT does at receiver and defensive back respectively. Whoever can get off the line and get open or close down passing lanes will quickly take control of the game.