WHEN: Saturday, November 21, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. CT
WHERE: Gerald J Ford Stadium- Dallas, TX
SERIES: Tulane leads 13-8
LAST MEETING: SMU lost 27-26 in 2012
SMU faced a much better team when they took on Navy in Annapolis last weekend, so it’s no surprised they were blown out. The Mustangs were completely gashed on the ground by the Midshipmen, and SMU’s offense did very little to help out their defense. No one expected SMU to win last weekend, but if they somehow figured out to stop the run, there was hope they could keep it close. They obviously did not find a way to stop the run, and Navy’s defense completely shut down Matt Davis and company. The Mustangs will now face a 3-7 Tulane Green Wave team for the seniors’ last game. With it being the final home game of the season, Coach Morris should have this team playing with tons of heart to ensure those graduating have a happy farewell in Ford.
Tulane isn’t consistent—which explains their 3-7 record—but considering SMU’s inconsistencies on both sides of the ball as well, this should be a competitive game. The Green Wave are led by quarterback Tanner Lee who isn’t afraid to take shots down field. His main target is Teddy Veal. Veal is just 5-foot-11, but has shown solid play-making ability all season and even pulled in a 90-yard catch last week. Defensively, Tulane has a few playmakers. In the trenches, it’s no secret SMU has struggled to protect Davis, so guys likes Royce LaFrance should play a major role in the outcome of this game.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Kris Weeks vs. Royce LaFrance: LaFrance has a quick first step off the line to go along with long arms and good strength, so this is going to be a tough matchup for Weeks. What Weeks does have going in his favor is that he has faced tougher competition. While LaFrance is a nice player, Weeks has had the chance to learn game by game from his matchups against tougher opponents. If Weeks does have an off game, however, LaFrance could disrupt the SMU backfield.
KEYS TO THE GAME
As long as they can protect Davis, SMU can put up enough points against this defense to get the win. What it will come down to is can SMU get the few defensive stops it needs to build a small lead. SMU has to protect against the deep ball on defense, and the secondary can’t let receivers get behind them. Offensively, it starts with the offensive line. This unit has struggled this season, but it has also had some nice moments. Playing as penalty-free as possible is important, but the line cannot be complacent either. If SMU can build a lead, they can continue to run the ball and control the game clock.
WATCH TO WATCH FOR
When Tulane is on Offense: This Tulane team doesn’t have a ton of playmakers, but SMU will find itself in trouble if they give up a number of big plays—something they’ve done often this season.
When Tulane is on Defense: Tulane’s defense gives up almost 40 points a game, so it shouldn’t be hard for SMU to score. What the Mustangs will have to worry about, when the Green Wave is on defense, is protecting Matt Davis. If Davis feels the pressure that increases the chances of him making an inaccurate throw. Especially with Darion Monroe in the secondary, Davis has to be careful when taking risks down field.
When SMU is on Offense: The offensive line, which has been inconsistent, has to avoid penalties while also opening up holes for the running backs. Balancing the passing and running games makes this offense much more of a threat.
When SMU is on Defense: Playing at home will help, but it’s important this unit come up with the timely stops that they have failed to get all season long. If the defense continuously surrenders the deep ball, SMU’s offense will feel the pressure to keep up, which could lead to unwanted mistakes.
PONY STAMPEDE STAFF PREDICTIONS
Billy: SMU wins 35-21
Scott: SMU wins 35-28
Patrick: SMU wins 34-31
Hatts: SMU wins 28-14
Demo: SMU wins 35-28
Matt: SMU wins 31-24