SMU 42 … at Memphis 0
Posted Sep 24, 2011

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - SMU at Memphis

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 4 - Memphis at SMU

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Sept. 24 SMU 42 … at Memphis 0
CFN Analysis: The stats look great, but that's what happens after playing UTEP, Northwestern State, and Memphis in a three week span. Now the Mustangs get to show what they can do with a nasty three game stretch against TCU, UCF, and Southern Miss coming up next, and if J.J. McDermott can stay hot, the Mustangs have a chance. Even with too many turnovers and mistakes, it was still a blowout win with McDermott throwing for 357 yards and three scores, and Zach Line running for 136 yards and three touchdowns to balance things out.

If Memphis isn't the worst team in America, it's trying to play like it. The defense came up with four takeaways and the offense did absolutely nothing to take advantage of them with -14 net yards rushing with four sacks allowed, and QB Taylor Reed never had a shot to get anything going down the field. There was one bit play to Keiwone Malone, but that was it for the excitement. With four road games coming up in the next five, things might get tougher before there's any turnaround, but there has to be some sign of improvement.

(AP) MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- J.J. McDermott threw for three touchdowns and 357 yards to lead Southern Methodist in a 42-0 rout of Memphis Saturday.

The Mustangs (3-1, 2-0 Conference USA) dominated from the outset, as James Richardson returned the opening kickoff 33 yards before the offense drove the final 63 on seven plays. Zach Line finished it off with his first of three consecutive 1-yard TD runs.

Line finished with 136 yards on 20 carries to set up McDermott's passing game. McDermott went to the air 44 times, completing 28 passes. Darius Johnson caught 10 of those for 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Der'rikk Thompson had six catches for 104 yards and a 44-yard touchdown.

Memphis (1-3, 0-1) got into the red zone just once, reaching first-and-goal from the 10 late in the first half. However, Reed, who finished with 153 yards on 17-of-32 passing, threw three straight incompletions.

SMU (2-1) at Memphis (1-2) Sept. 24, 12:00, FSN

Here's The Deal … Memphis hosts Conference USA foe SMU in what appears to be a mismatch after seeing both teams' start to the season.

Memphis is 1-2, with its only victory coming against FCS member Austin Peay by a score of 27-6. The Tigers have been destroyed by Mississippi State and Arkansas State, the former being forgivable, but the latter not so much. Things have gotten so bad in Memphis that the defensive coordinator resigned just two weeks into the season. The Tigers are hoping that last week helped build some confidence, and that playing at home will be enough of an advantage to help them pull off the upset.

SMU has had a decent start to the year, with a nice win last week over Northwestern State and a key conference victory over UTEP to place the Mustangs as the early leaders in Conference USA West. Head coach June Jones has built this program up significantly from where it was just a few years ago, but now SMU is looking to take the next step and win the conference outright.

Why SMU Might Win: The Mustangs are 13-4 in their last 17 conference games, and are facing one of the bottom-feeders in the conference. The SMU passing game has been outstanding so far, averaging over 300 yards per game, typical of a Jones-coached offense. They are led by Senior QB J.J. McDermott and RB Zach Line, who is averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground and has accumulated eight rushing touchdowns already this season. The Mustangs should be able to feast on the Memphis defense, which is the third worst nationally. The 118th-ranked Tiger D has allowed 541 yards per game, including over 600 yards to both FBS level teams they have played.

Why Memphis Might Win: Memphis has never lost to SMU, winning all three previous meetings between the two schools. However, this year is different, and the Tigers may have picked up their only win of the season last week, but they will look to prove their skeptics wrong with a big home win on Homecoming Day. If there is only one thing Memphis is good at, it's punting. The Tigers have done an outstanding job of covering on special teams and not allowing big plays in the return game. If Memphis does not give up any cheap scores to SMU, and if the Tigers can win the field position battle they may have a chance to keep it close long enough to deliver the stunner.

What To Watch Out For: SMU WR Cole Beasley. The senior wideout has been McDermott's favorite target, averaging over nine receptions per game. While he is not a true homerun threat, Beasley is sure handed and can help his quarterback get out of a jam to keep drives going. He tallied 171 yards last week against Northwestern St., and should be able to settle into the mile-wide gaps the Memphis secondary has been providing opponents this year. Expect a monster for the SMU passing game.

What Will Happen: Memphis will play with emotion the first quarter and part of the second, but the Tigers will not be able to stop anything the SMU offense throws at them. The Mustangs offense will throw for over 400 yards, and Zach Line will add another 150 on the ground to completely wear down the Tiger defense. Memphis just does not have enough playmakers on offense or enough talent on defense to be able to hang with a top-tier Conference USA program.

CFN Prediction: SMU 52 … Memphis 17 … Line: SMU -22  
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: SMU -22.5. O/U: 48

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