SMU vs. TCU, 9-16-2017 - Prediction & Preview
Written by: Benjamin Hayes
SMU Mustangs (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 2-0 O/U) at TCU Horned Frogs (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS, 0-2 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 16, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Tx., 3:30pmET
Line: TCU -17.5
The No. 23 TCU Horned Frogs have looked absolutely dominant in their first two games, beating up on FCS Jacksonville State (63-0) and Arkansas (28-7) last week. They’ll face an SMU squad that has produced 112 points in their first two games. Last season, TCU dominated the Mustangs on the road, winning 33-3. They’ll host the Mustangs this season from Fort Worth, on Saturday afternoon.
Hicks lights up Mean Green
SMU sophomore quarterback Ben Hicks had an erratic freshman season in 2016, tossing for 2,930 yards with 19 TDs and 15 picks. He’s been a little better at taking care of the ball this season, throwing for six TDs and just one pick, but is completing just 50 percent of his passes. In his last game against North Texas, he completed 20 of 39 for 312 yards with four TDs and one pick. Eight of those completions went to 6-4 receiver Courtland Sutton, who 163 yards receiving. Last year, Sutton was a dominant target on the SMU offense with 76 catches for 1,246 yards and 10 TDs. Junior running back Xavier Jones added 74 yards and two scores against the Mean Green.
The SMU defense has allowed 356 yards per game and just 72 yards on the ground per contest. The pass defense has been an issue in the past and it is again, as they are allowing 284 yards per game.
Is TCU back in the national playoff picture?
It might be too early to consider TCU a contender. No doubt, Oklahoma is the team to beat in the Big 12 after their impressive win over Ohio State this past weekend. But TCU is quietly building an impressive resume’, albeit in non-conference play. With 8:15 left in the first quarter, the gave up a 49-yard pass for a touchdown from Austin Allen to Jonathan Nance. After that, the Horned Frogs held Arkansas scoreless, producing the next 21 points in a 28-7 road win against an SEC opponent. This was not a pretty effort on offense as former Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill completed 21 of 31 for 166 yards and one pick with no TDs. Hill also ran for 35 yards on 11 attempts. Darius Anderson led TCU with 106 yards and a TD on 15 carries.
Hill completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 3,208 yards last season, but struggled with 13 picks and 17 TDs. He also ran for 10 TDs and 609 yards. But the key for Gary Patterson’s club is their defense. They usually have a dominant defense and it appears they are back on track again, allowing just 166 yards per game and 89.5 passing yards in their first two games.
- 8-20-1 ATS last 29 vs. Big 12.
- 6-2 ATS last 8 after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
TCU looks dominant and while the trends favor SMU, I can’t go with the Mustangs. TCU’s defense completely dominated a pretty good Arkansas offense last week. SMU has not faced a Power 5 team yet and this should be ugly. Hicks is barely completing 50 percent of his passes against mediocre competition.
Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!
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