The SMU Mustangs will travel to Joe Aillet Stadium on Saturday afternoon to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in a non-conference matchup. SMU is 2-0 this season and is coming off a 35-12 home win over the North Texas Mean Green. Junior Tanner Mordecai is leading the nation in touchdown passes and added to his total here as he finished 21-of-33 for 312 yards with four touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Louisiana Tech is 1-1 so far and is coming off a 45-42 victory at home against the Southeast Louisiana Lions. Senior quarterback Austin Kendall had an average showing there as he went 19-of-27 for 217 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
These teams can match up well as they are able to put up points in a frenzy but the defensive side of the football is going to be the difference-maker here. Let’s take a closer look into the Mustangs and Bulldogs to determine where we should be placing our wagers here.
Gaining Like a BentleyThe SMU Mustangs have to work on balance in their offense and the rushing attack is led by sophomore running back Ulysses Bentley IV. So far this season, he has 20 carries for 189 yards (9.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown on the ground while adding four receptions for 22 yards with a touchdown reception. Bentley controlled the game last week against North Texas as he finished with 10 carries for 141 yards (14.1 yards per carry) and a rushing touchdown while also having two catches for 21 yards and an additional receiving touchdown through the air. If he can continue to be one of the driving forces of this offense, the Mustangs should be in a great place.
The SMU Mustangs defense has been excellent to begin their season as they have allowed just 10.5 points per game this season. Looking back at their last game against the North Texas Mean Green, they allowed 12 points on 506 total yards of offense (384 passing, 122 rushing). They have been stopping the opposing offense on third down as the Mean Green were just 4-of-18 on third down and 0-of-4 on fourth down. The Mustangs have been good at forcing turnovers as well as they have forced a pair of interceptions as well. If SMU can continue to dominate defensively and force punts, it will do wonders for their program.
Any Means NecessaryThe Louisiana Tech Bulldogs offense needs the ability to get big plays down the field and freshman wide receiver Bub Means has shown he is capable of doing just that. So far this season, he has five catches for 131 yards and a touchdown reception. Looking at the last game against the Southeast Louisiana Lions, he was held in check with three catches for 37 yards. Means needs to be able to get open and get some more targets, which would help as he gets more game action as his collegiate career continues.
The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs have been struggling so far this season defensively as they are allowing 38.5 points per game. Looking at their last game against the Lions, they gave up 42 points on 598 yards of offense (495 passing, 103 rushing). They have been struggling as they allowed Southeast Louisiana to convert on 7-of-14 on third down and converted on both fourth-down attempts. The biggest plus was that the Bulldogs were able to force three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble recovery) and if they can continue that trend, this game can be very close.
- Louisiana Tech: 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games vs a team with a winning record
- Louisiana Tech: 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games
- SMU: 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games
- SMU: 21-6 ATS in their last 27 September games