Game Preview: SMU vs. Southern Miss
Garrett Gilbert bouncing back. Gilbert had a tough game against UCF this past weekend as he passed for just 133 yards and could not get the ball to Darius Johnson, Jeremy Johnson or Der'rikk Thompson consistently. This week, expect Zach Line to have a big game, but look for the focus to be on getting Gilbert back on track. Gilbert has to be able to be aggressive while still being accurate, something he has not been able to do much this season. For the Mustangs to be able to be successful on offense, the passing attack has to hit big plays and not just dink and dunk. Line has to provide the balance, which he did well enough in the UCF game, but the passing attack has to put more pressure on defenses to be ready for a pass because the defenses haven't had to worry much this season about the passing attack.
What To Watch On Offense From Southern Miss
Nothing to see here. The USM offense is pretty inept. Anthony Alford, has passed for just 550 yards and zero touchdowns. Alford has seen time in almost all of the Golden Eagles' games this season and is probable after dealing with some turf toe this past week. Alford has completed around 45 percent of his passes this season, which is horrible and the Golden Eagles don't really have anyone that scares opposing defenses on the outside. Jalen Richard and Desmond Johnson have combined for 759 yards and six touchdowns while averaging over five yards per carry so look for that duo to try and establish a ground game for USM in hopes of keeping Gilbert and company off the field.
What To Watch On Defense From SMU
Big plays. The SMU defense needs to get back to their play-making ways on Saturday with some takeaways and big plays. The defensive line will need to get pressure on Alford to force him to make some ill-advised throws and help the SMU secondary make some plays. The secondary got torched last week as Bortles was efficient for UCF and made plays while the SMU corners were beaten easily numerous times. Ja'Gared Davis has to be poised for a big day as he had a pick against USM last season.
What To Watch On Defense From Southern Miss
Not much to watch for here either. USM is 115th in points against by giving up 38.2 points per game, which has to give SMU some confidence in their offense's chances of being able to put up some points on the Golden Eagles. USM gives up 431 yards per game, which is good for 88th in the country. USM's big playmaker is senior defensive lineman Jamie Collins, who has 73 tackles, nine sacks, 16 tackles for loss and even has five broken up passes. All of Collin's stats lead the team, but Khyri Thornton is the other defensive lineman to watch, who has eight tackles for loss.
Key to the Game
Stopping the run. If the Mustangs can stop the run, there is a good chance that SMU can hold Southern Miss to under 100 yards of total offense.
Prediction: SMU wins, 24-0
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