QB Greg Ward Jr.
5-11, 178 | 1058 passing yards, 472 rushing yards, 15 total TDs, 1 INTAs we saw last week against ECU, dual-threat quarterbacks continue to wreak havoc on the Mustangs’ defense, so facing Ward will be a challenge. Ward, who even earned some Heisman consideration after his performance against Tulsa, is the only player in the nation averaging at least 200 yards in the air and 100 yards on the ground. Ward does a great job of distributing the ball to his playmakers, which has led to a Cougars’ offense averaging 45 points and over 600 yards a game. First year head coach Tom Herman was critical of the junior quarterback for failing to capitalize on some opportunities, so Ward has some room for improvement, but SMU will be essentially going up against Trevone Boykin 2.0 on Thursday.
5-10, 218 | 385 rushing yards, 2 TDsWhile Ward might be the center of the Cougars’ offense, Farrow is still an integral part and key contributor for this offense. The senior running back splits carries with Ward, but his ability to put his shoulder down and get the tough yards makes him a load to handle. While Farrow averages 5.2 yards a carry and more than 96 rushing yards a game, the best part of is game might be his ability to block like a fullback. He does a nice job of setting the edge for Ward, and he forces defenses to bring an extra guy to get stops.
5-10, 178 | 32 catches, 377 yards, 3 TDsAyers has emerged as Ward’s go-to receiver. The junior wide out is averaging 11.8 yards per catch, and in just four games has already surprised his total of 335 yards from last season. He even has the ability to score from the backfield, carrying the ball 10 times for 103 yards. Ayers isn’t a big receiver, but he has the ability to get behind a secondary, which this SMU defense has let happen far too often this season.
6-0, 235 | 44 tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 sackThe former Morgan State linebacker transferred to Houston two years ago and has slowly been progressing and earning his place on the team. Now a captain, Roberts has become a vocal leader for Houston. The senior also leads by example, and has proven his worth by leading the team in tackles. Roberts has won over all of his teammates, not only with his vocal leadership, but also because of his play on the field. Roberts is a downhill player, and at his size, is hard for any offensive player to block.
5-11, 205 | 29 tackles, 2 INTs, 1 fumbleMcDonald is another vocal leader on this defense, and another captain that leads by example. The senior is third on the team in tackles, but leads the team with 2 interceptions. McDonald, a former quarterback in high school, is a physical player and does a nice job of making plays both in the secondary and in the backfield. The safety is also good at anticipating routes, which puts him in good positions to disrupt passing lanes and make plays on the ball.