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It’s a matchup of AAC foes in a crossover tilt down in the Sunshine State. The SMU Mustangs are on the road as they make the trip to face the Connecticut Huskies on Saturday afternoon. SMU won for the fourth time in six games as they defeated Houston 45-31 at home last Saturday. Connecticut was trounced 49-19 on the road by Tulsa in their last contest. The Mustangs have won all three previous matchups between the teams, including a 49-28 win at home in the last matchup on September 30, 2017.
SMU Mustangs Looking to Reach .500
SMU started the season 0-3 but their upset win over Houston last week pushed them within a game of .500: a win here could get them to that mark. The Mustangs moved within a game of the Cougars in the AAC West and own the all-important tiebreaker should the teams finish with identical records in conference play. SMU jumped to a 17-0 lead and regrouped after seeing Houston climb to within 17-14: the team scored two touchdowns in the final 4:08 of the first half to regain control. The Cougars never got closer than seven the rest of the way. SMU had a 514-365 edge in total offense, rolled up 25 first downs while allowing 15 and controlled the clock by a 34:13 to 25:47 margin.
— SMU FootbaII (@SMU_Football) November 4, 2018
The Mustangs are 44th in passing offense with 257.9 yards per game through the air and a dismal 122nd in rushing by averaging 109.4 yards per contest. SMU is 68th in the FBS in scoring offense with 29 points per game this season and 109th in scoring defense as they’ve given up 35.3 points a game to date this season. Ben Hicks is 134 of 242 passing for 1,643 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. William Brown has hit 53 of 85 passes for 625 yards with seven touchdowns and an interception plus 99 rushing yards on the season. Braeden West leads the team with 114 carries for 532 yards and five scores. Xavier Jones (57 carries, 170 yards) and Ke’Mon Freeman (35 attempts, 155 yards, two TD) are next in line. James Proche leads the team with 64 receptions for 781 yards and nine scores. Reggie Roberson Jr. contributes 37 receptions for 597 yards plus five scores while West chips in 27 catches for 264 yards plus a touchdown. Will Moore has hit three of four extra point attempts while not attempting a field goal while Kevin Robledo hit 25 of 26 extra points and seven of nine field goal attempts with a long of 49.
Connecticut Huskies Seek to Spring Upset
Connecticut looked good for a quarter against Tulsa as they held a 10-0 lead after the opening quarter. Things fell apart after that as the Huskies were outscored 49-9 the rest of the way in a battle of AAC basement dwellers. Connecticut led 13-7 in the second quarter and then gave up 42 unanswered points that told the tale of the game. The Huskies lost the total yardage battle 638-487 and gave up 25 first downs while recording 23. Connecticut did win the time of possession battle 33:21 to 26:39 but turned the ball over three times while recording only one takeaway. It all added up to another one-sided defeat.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) November 3, 2018
The Huskies come into this contest 108th in the FBS in passing offense with 183.2 yards per game and 40th in rushing as they average 201 yards per game on the ground. Connecticut is 121st in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 20.9 points per game while they are 130th in scoring defense by allowing a staggering 47.9 points per game. David Pindell (134 of 228, 1502 yards, 11 TD, eight INT, team-high 934 rushing yards, eight TD) is the starter under center. Marvin Washington (nine of 24, 147 yards, TD, three INT) is the next man on the depth chart for the Huskies. Kevin Mensah (159 carries, 676 yards, five TD) and Zavier Scott (34 carries, 194 yards) provide a 1-2 punch in the backfield for the Huskies. Hergy Mayala (28 catches, 255 yards, two TD), Scott (26 grabs, 196 yards, TD), Keyion Dixon (eight receptions, 133 yards, TD), Aaron McLean (24 catches, 299 yards, two TD) and Kyle Buss (25 grabs, 394 yards, two TD) are all back to provide some experienced targets in the passing game. Michael Tarbutt hit 18 of 18 extra point attempts and four of five field goal attempts this season with a long of 50. Clayton Harris is five of six on extra points and hit his lone field goal attempt, which came from 38 yards.
- Huskies are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass
- Huskies are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record
- Huskies are 0-6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Mustangs are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- Mustangs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games.
- Mustangs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing home record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
SMU is playing good football of late, with four wins in six games since starting the year 0-3. Connecticut plays solid football in segments but rarely puts together a full 60 minute performance. The Mustangs know a win here puts them back at .500 on the year and keeps them in the race in the West Division of the AAC. SMU has handled Connecticut in each of the last three meetings and this version of the Huskies doesn’t seem any better prepared to deliver a win. Give the points and take SMU here.
Prediction: SMU Mustangs -19.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have had serious issues on the defensive side of the ball this season. Connecticut is dead last in the FBS in scoring defense and actually saw their point per game allowed average increase after their loss to Tulsa. SMU is within a game of the .500 mark but they need to tighten up defensively as giving up better than 35 points a game makes it tough to have sustained success. The Mustangs have been better lately and the offense is clicking, which is a major boost. Can SMU get back to the .500 mark here or will Connecticut spoil the fun?
SMU has seen the over go 4-0 in their last four in November and 4-1 in their last five after an ATS win. Connecticut has seen the over go 4-1 in their last five after being held under 20 points and 5-2 in their last seven on grass. SMU is firing on all cylinders right now and that’s bad news for a Connecticut team that struggles to stop opponents from scoring. Look for this one to go over the number.
Prediction: Over 65.5