2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - UTEP at SMU
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Sept. 10 at SMU 28 ... UTEP 17
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) DALLAS -- Zach Line rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns and J.J. McDermott was a winner in his first start at quarterback for SMU in a 28-17 victory against UTEP on Saturday night.
Line scored on 1- and 7-yard runs for the Mustangs (1-1, 1-0 Conference USA). McDermott, a senior who relieved Kyle Padron last week at Texas A&M, was 18 of 31 for 244 yards and an interception.
UTEP (1-1, 0-1) lost starting quarterback Nick Lamaison to a shoulder separation in the third quarter. The game was delayed 10 minutes in the third quarter as defensive lineman Germard Reed was taken off the field in an ambulance with an apparent neck injury.
Lamaison was 15 of 26 for 142 yards, and Jay Hall was 8 of 20 for 130 yards and an interception. The Mustangs sealed the win when Hall's fumble in the end zone was recovered by Ja'Gared Davis for a TD, making the score 28-17 with 2:39 remaining.
Padron saw action and had a 12-yard TD run in the first quarter.
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UTEP (1-0) at SMU (0-1) Sept. 10, 7:00, FSN
Here's The Deal … A couple of familiar West Division foes are prepared to lock horns in Dallas, both hoping to elevate from sloppy weekend performances. Sure, SMU wasn't supposed to beat Texas A&M on Sunday, but it also didn't figure to lose 46-14. Or be saddled with a quarterback controversy so early in the campaign. Kyle Padron, seemingly a fixed commodity behind center, was pulled by June Jones in favor of J.J. McDermott, who's going to get the start Saturday evening. UTEP won its opener, but that had as much to do with hosting obscure Stony Brook as anything else. The Miners were darn near picked off by the Seawolves, needing a second-half rally and an extra session to avoid an embarrassing defeat. Still, a win is a win, and UTEP can erase their near-stumble by sending SMU to an unexpected 0-2 start.
Why UTEP Might Win: When the Miners offense came to life in El Paso, it gave a glimpse of the team's potential this season. It was only QB Nick Lamaison's first start at this level, yet he threw for 365 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. The JUCO transfer appeared comfortable with his targets, hooking up liberally with veteran Donavon Kemp, Mike Edwards and TE Eric Tomlinson. RB Joe Banyard was quiet, but has proven in the past that he can carry the ground game. The SMU enters this game with a shattered psyche, having been roughed up for 60 minutes by Texas A&M.
Why SMU Might Win: How vulnerable is the new-look UTEP defense? It yielded more than 400 yards to Stony Brook, including 231 on the ground. If Jones doesn't want to put too much pressure on McDermott, he can ride punishing RB Zach Line, one of Conference USA's toughest backs. As last week showed, the Miners don't adjust well to physical teams that can batter between the tackles with downhill runners. Of course, the run-and-shoot will never be bashful about going up top, leveraging the playmaking skills of seasoned receivers Cole Beasley, Darius Johnson and Terrance Wilkerson.
What To Watch Out For: Lamaison is an interesting kid, a junior-college gunslinger who had a cup of coffee in Knoxville when Lane Kiffin was the Vols coach. He has the kind of live arm that head coach Mike Price likes in his quarterbacks. What he doesn't have is any experience facing a ball-hawking, aggressive Conference USA D. A trip to Gerald Ford Stadium will provide him a crash course. SMU will allow yards, but it'll also wreak havoc with the likes of DE Taylor Thompson and linebackers Taylor Reed and Ja'Gared Davis.
What Will Happen: SMU lost to a ranked opponent. UTEP snuck by an FCS also-ran. Now what? The Mustangs will play with an attitude in their home opener, spanking the Miners until the final gun is sounded. Jones isn't happy, which means his kids had to hear an earful throughout practice this week. They'll respond closer to his expectations, riding a monster effort on the ground from Line to a much-needed blowout win.
CFN Prediction: SMU 41 … UTEP 20
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SMU -19 O/U: 54
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