Five Players to Watch: SMU vs. Tulane

Demo has your five Tulane players to watch against SMU on Saturday.

QB Tanner Lee

6-4, 220 | 134-254-7, 1,536 yards, 10 TD 

We already know SMU’s defense has a lot of holes and can give up home-run plays left and right. Through eight games this season, Lee has already thrown 18 passes for 20 yards or more including a 90-yard bomb to Teddy Veal against Army. To put this into better perspective, through the entire 2014 season, Lee completed only 15 passes for 20 yards or more.  Lee’s seeing the field well and getting the ball down the field. SMU will need to disrupt his rhythm by rattling him early—otherwise he could be looking at another career day. 

WR Teddy Veal

6-0, 192 | 39 Catches, 554 yards, 14.2 Avg, 4 TD

Veal leads the Green Wave in catches this season and was on the receiving end of a 90 yard TD bomb against Army this season. Tanner Lee is having a solid season getting the ball down the field and Veal is his favorite target. Just last week, UConn managed to shut out Veal and brake his streak of at least one reception in 20 straight games. If Veal and Lee can start hooking up early and often, it will be a long day for SMU. 

RB Dontrell Hilliard

5-11 195 | 528 yards, 5.5 Avg, 6 TD 51.5 Avg/g

Tulane has been utilizing a running back-by-committee this season with much success. Against UCF this season Tulane used six running backs  who combined for 194 yards on 39 carries.  And while they will be getting the ball to many different players, Hilliard is head of that running back committee. His 528 yards and six rushing touchdowns lead his team. He has big play ability as shown by his 85 yard run this season. So, SMU will need to force Tulane to go to the other running backs sooner and prevent Hilliard from getting things rolling. 

DE Royce LaFrance

6-3 259 | 26 Tackles, 12 TFL, 5 Sacks

A lot of SMU’s offensive woes come from its inability to consistently protect Matt Davis. Senior defensive end Royce LaFrance enters the game against SMU third on Tulane’s list for career sacks with 18.5 and is just 4 sacks shy of tying the school record. He also is in fourth for career tackles for a loss with 35.5 . 

DB Darion Monroe

5-11 206 | 46 Tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 INT, 

Monroe leads Tulane in tackles this season and interceptions. SMU has been carless with the football lately and between LaFrance applying pressure and Monroe patrolling the secondary, the likelihood of throwing a couple interceptions increases. Tulane has four multi-turnover games this season. Odds of winning the turnover battle are not in SMU’s favor.  

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