“Beale Street Blues”

Saturday Spotlight

(15) SMU Mustangs at (24) Memphis Tigers

SMU: Next to the Baylor Bears, they’ve been one of the biggest surprises in college football. The SMU Mustangs are one of the few remaining undefeated teams. They’re 8-0 and on top of the AAC in the West division. The Mustangs are led by head coach who’s been around for quite some time in Sonny Dykes. Their quarterback is also a familiar face who has experience starting and he goes by the name of Shane Buchele, the former starting quarterback of the Texas Longhorns. Shane has put together a very nice season for this program. On the year, he’s thrown 20 touchdown passes to seven interceptions. If you want to discuss offense in the nation, make sure you at least have a spot at the table for this team. This is one of the best offenses in the game averaging 43 points a game. They are very balanced averaging 301.4 yards passing along with 202 yards rushing. They’re able to mix it up which is good because the balance factor is a lost thing in the game of football today. The defensive side is a completely different story. They haven’t been great, but they get a lot of the pressure taken off them because their offense has been their defense. What I mean by this is their offense has been able to create long drives because their defense can’t get off the field. Since they score over 40 points a game, the defensive struggles haven’t necessarily hurt them. This will be a big game tonight in Memphis for the Mustangs.

Memphis: It’s definitely a good time to be a fan in this city. The men’s college basketball team is ranked, and the football team has also done well this year which I don’t think many people saw coming. This is a fun team to watch and many wouldn’t know because they don’t play in one of the power five conferences. Let’s talk about this team, shall we? On the offensive side, this is another one of the best units in the country. The engine behind their offensive attack is a quarterback named Brady White (it’s something about those quarterbacks with the name Brady in it, right?) He’s a junior standing tall at 6’3. He makes all the throws, reads the entire field and what I like about his game most is that he doesn’t force the football. If he can’t get the ball to his intended receiver, he’ll dump the ball underneath. He’s poised which is still refreshing to see. The Tigers have done well on the offensive end. As a unit, they’ve averaged 39.5 points per game. They just don’t beat you with the passing game as they’re able to run the football with consistency. Their defense isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. They give up 23 points a game and in their last game against Tulsa, they were almost upset, but they were able to escape with a one-point victory. To defend home-field, they’ll welcome SMU to town tonight.

SMU Player to Watch: Xavier Jones– The senior is another key component to this explosive offense. He has a strong burst of speed, he bounces inside or outside to get those extra yards, he displays excellent field vision and he’s a sprinter. He won’t go down easily or without a fight. I like the shiftiness he shows with the football in his hands. I see a little LeSean McCoy in his game.

Memphis Player to Watch: Damonte Coxie– He’s White’s top target for a reason. Brady has so much trust in this kid that he can heave it up there and he knows for a fact Damonte will come down with the football. Talk about trust. When he makes catches in traffic, it’s like how Deandre Hopkins operates in space to get the football. He’s a strong receiver that’s physical off the release and moves well to free himself with the ball in his hands.

Final Analysis: What a game this should be. These are the top two teams in the AAC West. I’m expecting a shootout in this game. SMU needs to keep Memphis on its toes when they have the football. If I’m the Mustangs, I’m running the ball because they’ll be expecting the pass early on. Display your balance. Memphis needs to tighten things up. They played too loosely against Tulsa last weekend. This is a much better team coming to town tonight. Does SMU remain undefeated or will Memphis get the big win at home? It’s my favorite time of the year! Statement November!!

Prediction: Memphis 45 SMU 41


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