Monday, January 30, 2023

No. 23 SMU visits Memphis, aims to bounce back from first loss

Coach Sonny Dykes believes his number 23 SMU Mustang is still in good shape and has plenty of time to recover from his first loss and win the American Athletic Conference Championship.

That doesn’t change the fact that he wishes his Mustangs hadn’t directly kicked a dangerous returner who went 100 yards for the touchdown with 17 seconds left to stun SMU.

But it’s still just a disadvantage.

“The only thing on our schedule that is concerned at the moment is that we are doing everything we can to play as well as we can every time we take the field…” Dykes said. . “And so we know none of it is easy. But I think our players are looking forward to the challenge and are excited about it.

The next challenge for SMU (7-1, 3-1) comes with a trip to Memphis (4-4, 1-3) on Saturday morning.

Maybe the Mustangs are recovering from a painful 44-37 loss to Houston last weekend, but the Tigers are looking to 2018, when they bounced back from a similar 4-4 start to reach the Conference Championship as West Division champions. UCF. Memphis has a week off since a 24-7 road loss in With a backup quarterback.

Memphis coach Ryan Silverfield says he discussed that last week until 2018.

“Our people don’t need any more inspiration,” Silverfield said. “He doesn’t need any rah-rah speech. We’ve talked about it. They know the reality of it.”

dangerous mordecai

Dykes has both top offenses in American Thanksgiving?? Quarterback Tanner Mordecai. Mustangs are scoring 42 points in a game and an average of 504.1 yards per game, and Mordecai is the big reason. He ranks second nationally with 32 TD passes, and he averages 25.5 points per game.

Mordecai has thrown at least 300 yards in seven games this season, with at least four TD passes in five games. He is two TD passes from the top in the SMU record set by Shane Buechel in 2019, and Mordecai has 14 more TDs than the next closest quarterback in the league.

QB issues

Memphis had to make a Peter Parish debut in the last game, with freshman Seth Hennigan being sidelined with an injury to his right shoulder. Parish was sacked six times in a loss to UCF, and Silverfield says it has more time to prepare if it is to start on Saturday.

Whether Hennigan is likely to play will be a game-time decision. Hennigan is ranked 11th nationally with an average of 307.6 yards per game and 22nd with 16 TD passes.

experience matters

SMU has five offensive linemen starting this season who started at least nine games last season, and that experience is a big part of the Mustangs’ offensive success. Jaylon Thomas, Hayden Howerton, Alan Ali, Justin Osborne and Beau Morris have combined to make 165 career starts.

He also has plenty of depth with five others who have started at least one game against the FBS competition. Mustangs are fourth in the FBS with a drop of 0.75 sacks and a big reason why SMU is in the top 10 for passing offense, scoring and total offence, a year ago.

Austin’s Hands

No matter who starts at quarterback for Memphis, the Tigers still have the conference’s leading receiver. Calvin Austin III is sixth nationally, with 112.6 yards per game, and he already has 901 yards this season after leading Memphis with 63 catches for 1,052 yards last season. Is.

he has returned

SMU has its own top receiver back for this game. Reggie Roberson Jr. suffered a knee injury late in the third quarter of the Mustangs’ last game against Memphis on October 3, 2020. Roberson took five catches for a season-high of 243 yards with two TDs before injuring his knee.

He has taken 35 catches for 464 yards with five TDs this season.


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