Week 6 – SMU at UTEP

Posted Oct 4, 2012

Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – SMU at UTEP

SMU (1-3) at UTEP (1-4) Oct. 6, 8:00

Here's The Deal: SMU and UTEP are done taking their lumps against non-conference heavyweights. Both are eager for a weekly diet of Conference USA games that'll determine whether they're going to be a factor in the wide-open West Division or not. The Miners actually dropped their first league last week, falling short against East Carolina in Greenville. The Mustangs have been a disappointment so far in 2012 for June Jones, but did put a scare into ranked TCU last week before bowing to the rival Frogs, 24-16.

Why SMU Might Win: The Mustangs offense may have gone AWOL, but the D is coming off its best game of the season, holding TCU to just 156 total yards. They've registered two sacks in each of the last three games, and have the makings of a decent front seven with help from DE Margus Hunt and linebackers Taylor Reed and Ja'Gared Davis. UTEP has been equally impotent with the ball, ranking 109th in scoring.
Why UTEP Might Win: The Miners and Mustangs are basically mirror images of one another. A UTEP D that has shown some bite this fall gets an SMU offense that's in a state of disarray. The Miners have not buckled against the likes of Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Wisconsin, pressing up to stop the run with the likes of LB Josh Fely, and getting pocket pressure out of DE Horace Miller.

What To Watch Out For: Who wins the battle of the backs? SMU has Zach Line, while UTEP will counter with Nathan Jeffery. The all-conference candidates are steeped in talent, but have been hindered by poor blocking and injuries, respectively. Both are capable of taking a game over, which is precisely what they'll do if the opposing defense doesn't fill lanes and wrap up in space. Neither quarterback has been target lately, amping up the importance of Line and Jeffery.

What Will Happen: Which of these two wayward programs decides to show up at the Sun Bowl? It's now-or-never for both, so there'll be a lot at stake in El Paso. This is one of those times that Jones will feel fortunate to have Line on his side. The 230-pound senior will win his duel with Jeffery, rushing for 150 yards, and hoisting his Mustangs on his pads for a crucial road win.

CFN Prediction: SMU 30 … UTEP 26
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) UTEP -2.5 O/U: 49
Must Watch Rating (5 – Master, 1 – Trouble with the Curve): 1