UPDATE: A terrible oversight on my part. SMU wide receiver Reggie Robertson Jr. is out for the season.
The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University will provide the Cincinnati Bearcats with their greatest challenge of the young season this Saturday night at Dallas’ Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
The Sonny Dykes-led Mustangs enter the contest with a 5-0 mark, 2-0 in the American conference.
They have defeated all creatures great and small, outlasting both the Memphis Tigers and the Tulane Green Wave. SMU laid the smack down on North Texas and Stephen F. Austin.
The Mustangs are power by a bodacious offense led by their Friday Night Lights-esque quarterback, Shane Buechele. Buechele has been the Big Man on Campus in the AAC, posting more than 1,700 passing yards and 12 touchdown passes. He throws a gorgeous deep ball and has been intercepted but twice.
Standing beside him in SMU’s backfield is Ulysses Bentley IV, a speedy and diminutive freshman tailback who eludes defenders with great aplomb. Bentley is averaging better than 6 yards per carry and has scored 8 touchdowns, two more than the entire New York Jets.
The Mustangs’ offensive line has yet to show themselves to be road-graders but they offer effective protection for SMU’s pass-happy offense.
On defense, SMU has been a bit mercurial. Linebackers Delano Robinson and Richard McBryde have been consistently effective tacklers and shown themselves to be disruptive of their opponent’s rushing attacks.
The Mustangs’ defensive line has a pass rushing war daddy in sophomore defensive tackle Elijah Chatman but SMU’s pass rush in not dominant. The SMU secondary has also given up its share of big plays, particularly in the second half.
I anticipate this one being a higher scoring affair than Cincinnati’s early season contests. The Bearcats must find a way to keep up with SMU’s up-and-down the field offense or find a way to slow their multi-faceted attack to something a bit more manageable.