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Week 11 - Cincinnati-SMU & Memphis-UT Martin
Posted Nov 6, 2013

Week 11 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Cincinnati at SMU & Memphis at UT Martin

SMU (3-4) at Cincinnati (6-2) Nov. 9, 12:00, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The softest portion of Cincinnati’s schedule is now in the rear view mirror. The Bearcats will have to do some heavy lifting if they plan on rising up and winning the American. Of their last five opponents, four began the game winless while the fifth, Memphis last Wednesday, had just one win. Cincy will need to step up its overall game, beginning with this week’s visit from SMU. The Mustangs won their two games leading into last weekend’s bye, beating Memphis and Temple in shootouts. If the Ponies are going to extend their streak of postseason games to five, they’ll need to author at least one upset in the next month.

Why SMU Might Win: Sure, the Cincinnati D has been statistically sound, but who has it faced? The Mustangs will challenge the Bearcats in ways that it hasn’t been challenged since allowing 45 points to Illinois. Senior QB Garrett Gilbert, the triggerman of the nation’s fifth-ranked passing game, is doing a nice job of getting the ball in the hands of receivers Jeremy Johnson, Darius Joseph and Keenan Holman. Over the last three games, Gilbert has thrown for 11 touchdowns, 1,343 yards and just a single interception.

Why Cincinnati Might Win: The Mustangs have kept just one opponent under 30 points this fall, and that was when Memphis hung 29 on them. The Bearcats can move the ball with balance, aided by a veteran O-line that leads the American in sacks allowed. QB Brendon Kay is a high-percentage passer, while the backfield is flush with options, such as Ralph David Abernathy and Tion Green.

Who To Watch Out For: SMU will have its hands full with the Cincinnati pass rush. The Mustangs are 113th nationally in sacks allowed, while the Bearcats are 12th at getting to the quarterback. SMU must pay particular attention to DE Silverberry Mouhon, who’s enjoying a breakout sophomore year.

- The Mustangs will want to attack the line of scrimmage on Saturday, especially if Cincinnati G Austen Bujnoch remains hampered with a foot injury. SMU likes to press the flesh up front with DE Beau Barnes and linebackers Randall Joyner, Kevin Pope, Stephon Sanders and Jonathan Yenga.

- WR Anthony McClung delivered a solid October as Kay’s preferred target. He caught 27 balls for 318 yards and four touchdowns in four games, but will now be matched up against SMU’s best corner, Kenneth Acker.

What Will Happen: Weather-permitting, Cincinnati and SMU will stage a track meet at Nippert Stadium. The Mustang D doesn’t stop anyone, and the Mustang offense has the firepower to keep pace. The Bearcats, though, are home and better equipped to make a stop late in a close game. They’ll remain unbeaten in Cincinnati, riding an offense that’ll amass more than 500 balanced yards.

Prediction: Cincinnati 37 … SMU 30
Line: Cincinnati -9 o/u: 63.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 2
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Tennessee-Martin (5-3) at Memphis (1-6) Nov. 9, 4:30, ESPN3

Why You Should Give A Hoot: After four straight losses, Memphis is happy to be hosting an FCS opponent. Even if the record doesn’t show it, the Tigers have generally made strides in Justin Fuente’s second season, losing all six games by 14 points or less. An upset in November would give the program a nice boost as it attempts to mature and learn how to win close games. In Tennessee-Martin’s other game with an FBS opponent this year, it got mauled by Boise State, 63-14. Despite being 3-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Skyhawks will have a shot to climb the league ladder against a schedule backloaded with contenders.

Why Tennessee-Martin Might Win: The Skyhawks are 4-1 on the road this season, so a trip to the Liberty Bowl will not unnerve this team. They can move the ball with balance, averaging 185 yards a game on the ground and 226 through the air. RB DJ McNeil is averaging more than 100 yards a game on the ground, which has made it easier for QB Jarod Neal to locate his top target in the passing game, well-sized senior Jeremy Butler.

Why Memphis Might Win: Throughout all of the heartache and close calls that the Tigers have endured in 2013, the defense has been a constant. Over seven games, Memphis has only yielded three yards per carry and eight total touchdown passes. The well-coached, no-name unit has gotten a monster year from DE Martin Ifedi to go along with sound tackling at all levels. The Tigers aren’t Boise State, but Tennessee-Martin had its weaknesses exposed when it took a step up weight class in September.

Who To Watch Out For: Progress has been gradual for Memphis rookie QB Paxton Lynch, who has just five touchdown passes and six interceptions. Still, Fuente has exercised patience for a young hurler who should earn some confidence against a lesser opponent this weekend.

- The Skyhawk roster features 10 players who prepped in the city of Memphis, none better than LB Tony Bell. Bell is just 6-1 and 200 pounds, but his speed has resulted in a team-high 8.5 tackles for loss and four sacks.

What Will Happen: Memphis will not squander an opportunity to notch its first win since Sept. 21. The Tigers will rely on an underrated defense and the running of Brandon Hayes to control the clock and keep Tennessee-Martin from reaching the end zone more than once or twice.

Prediction: Memphis 34 … Tennessee-Martin 13
Line: Memphis -14.5 o/u: 47.5
Must See Rating: (5 The Wolf of Wall Street – 1 Ass Backwards) … 1
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