Game Preview: SMU vs. Connecticut

Demetrio previews SMU's last game of the year against Connecticut!

It has been a long and rough season for SMU (0-11, 0-7 AAC). The future looks bright with Chad Morris set to lead the Mustangs for the next couple of years. However, there is still one more game to play; one more chance to seize a win from the jaws of a winless season; one more opportunity to back up all the confident remarks made over the course of 11 losses; one last chance to win a game in 2014; one last game to play their hearts out for interim head coach Tom Mason. This game is a try out of sorts for guys that won’t graduate at the end of the year, and for seniors it the last game of football some of them will play at this high of a level. This game is about pride- nothing more, nothing less.

WHEN: Saturday, DEC. 6, 2014. Kickoff is at 11 a.m.
WHERE: : Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.
TV/RADIO: : CBS Sports Network, KTCK 1310 AM/96.7 FM The Ticket S
ERIES: : SMU holds a 2-0 all-time advantage over the Huskies.
LAST MEETING: : SMU beat UCONN 38-21 last season on November 16, 2013.

PONY TRENDS

Last week, SMU was up 9-7 over Houston at one point, but surrendered 28 unanswered points and lost 35-9. The Mustangs simply have not been able to put together a complete game this season. SMU announced Chad Morris as the new head coach moving forward earlier this week. So, it will be interesting to see how the team responds: do they try to send Mason out with a win or do they simply disengage and mail it in?

OPPONENT STRENGTHS

UCONN is 2-9 in 2014, so SMU isn’t exactly looking to knock off a group of world beaters. Still, UCONN would much rather be 3-9 when its all said and done rather than 2-10. The Huskies will be scrappy. They will fight for yardage. They won’t let SMU come into their home and walk away with an easy win. Saturday will be a matchup between two desperate programs, scratching the bottom of the barrel for a win. The Huskies only wins of the season have come against Stony Brook (19-16 - Sept. 6) and UCF (37-29 – Nov.1). This type of season is rather surprising considering the Huskies won the Big East four years ago. Don’t let their record fool you, this won’t be an easy game for SMU.

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Matt Davis vs the World. Right now, the best thing SMU has going for them is Davis under center. He has given life to this offense and even if he hasn’t always been effective, no one can say that since he took over, the offense hasn’t shown the potential to put up points- it has. So the key matchup on Saturday will be Davis against the UCONN defense- particularly linebacker Graham Stewart and safety Andrew Adams. Stewart is good at rushing the passer and stuffing the run; he can create all kinds of problems for SMU’s front seven and put even more pressure on Davis to make plays. If Davis lets the pressure get to him, he will be more likely to make dicey throws. And dicey throws are not recommended when throwing the ball against a secondary led by Adams. The safety is easily UCONN’s best defender and his ball skills are incredible. If Davis leaves small throws up there, Adams will make him pay.

KEYS TO THE GAME

I hate to do this, but Andrew was right two weeks ago, and Patrick was right last week. SMU has to play a complete game- start to finish. There are 14 seniors on the roster and no one from this staff is expected to be around next year. No one wants to send the coaches out on a sour note so I imagine they will be fighting. Hopefully for SMU they will do so for a full 60 minutes.

I’ll leave you with this:

Well, boys…I haven’t a thing to say. Played a great game…all of you. Great Game. I guess we just can’t expect to win ‘em all…or most of ‘em. I’m going to tell you something I’ve kept to myself for years—none of you ever knew Doak Walker. It was long before your time. But you know what a tradition he is at SMU…

And the last thing he said to me—I was three, but I remember—he said, “Demo, sometime, when the team is up against it—and the breaks are beating the boys—tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Doaker. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Demo- but I’ll know about it- and I’ll be happy.”


Pony Stampede Top Stories