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Two teams with identical records collide on Saturday afternoon in The Big Easy when the Southern Methodist Mustangs head to Yulmann Stadium in New Orleans to take on the Tulane Green Wave. Not only is each team 2-4 overall, but they both sit at 1-1 in conference play as well. The team have met 24 times overall, with the first meeting coming way back in 1946. Tulane leads the all-time series 13-11, but SMU has won three straight against the Green Wave, including last season’s 41-38 nailbiter in Dallas . . .
Mustangs have some Ground to Make Up
Southern Methodist had the week off to try to recover from their four touchdown dismantling at the hands of nationally ranked UCF. Ths Mustangs began the season poorly, getting doubled up by North Texas 46-23, then losing by 30 points to TCU at home. This was followed by a 25-point loss in the Big House to Michigan before they won their first two games of the season including a solid conference victory over the Midshipmen. Then came the dismantling at the hands of the Knights, but at .500 in the American Athletic Conference, all is not lost. A victory over less-than-spectacular Tulane squad could just give the team the momentum it needs en route to a possible bowl bid.
Not much went right against Central Florida other than scoring the first points of the game, but by the time the first quarter had ended, Southern Methodist found itself trailing 21-3. Ultimately they were outgained 541-320 during the game but did manage to put points on the board in every quarter of play. They currently sit in a tie with Houston for second place in the AAC West, a half-game back of division-leading Houston. Ben Hicks is the leading passer on the team with 6 scores against two picks and 706 yards but he splits time with William Brown and will likely continue to do so. They are averaging 28.2 points per game and putting up 352.3 yards per contest. That is 3.2 points more than the Green Wave, but 25 yards less. In other words, the offenses are evenly matched and it will come down to whichever defense can step it up in this one.
Green Wave Getting Wanting More
Tulane has kind of done what is expected of them to this point. They lost in overtime to open the season to Wake Forest, an ACC team, which is a bit of a surprise, but did suffer a defeat at UAB that was not expected at that time, but then again, neither was their 16-point win over Memphis a couple of weeks ago. It may have been their special helmets they wore in their contest with the Tigers that helped inspire them to victory, because without them, they fell to undefeated Cincinnati, 37-21 in their last outing. The team tried to give the Bearcats a run for their money and even led 7-3 after one quarter of play. By halftime, they trailed by 10, and their scrap was gone by the end of the third quarter when it was 30-14. They did end the game with a 5-play 46 yard drive when Justin McMillan found Terren Endclade from 14 yards out, showing that team has no quit in them.
— Tulane Football (@GreenWaveFB) October 15, 2018
Quarterback Johnathan Banks and McMillan have split time under center this season with Banks leading the team with 921 yards through the air and 5 touchdowns against just one interception. Darius Bradwell is the leading rusher on the squad with 469 yards and five scores. One area where Tulane has an advantage against the ‘Stangs is total defense where they are allowing just 30 points per game compared to SMU’s nearly 40 (39.7). If their defense can step it up in this one, it should equate to a home victory.
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in October.
- 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
Southern Methodist is:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
- 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Tulane is at home and has beaten a stronger team than SMU there this year in Memphis, but there is a reason that Southern Methodist has beaten has beaten the Green Wave three straight times . . . it is a better program, and the Mustang players know it too. True Seniors will come into Yulman Stadium looking to cap off an undefeated career there. Of course, Tulane has the revenge factor and fighting for respect on their side. They will be hard seeking victory, and may find it, but not by seven points. The spread is just too big in this one.
Prediction: Pick: SMU +7
Full-Game Total Pick
It does not appear that either defense is really strong enough to stop the other team in this one so I suspect that it is going to be a high scoring affair. Both teams have trends that favor the over with it hating eight of the last 10 games in which Tulane has played a team with a losing record and five of the last six times that Southern Methodist came into a game after a loss.
Prediction: Over 59