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SMU vs. North Texas Prediction,
and Odds - 9-19-2020

Game Snapshot with Current Line

#129 Southern Methodist University
Mustangs -14
#130 University of North Texas
Mean Green 14

Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 6:00pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The North Texas Mean Green host the SMU Mustangs on Saturday in a non-conference battle. The Mustangs get back to action after their game versus TCU was postponed due to positive coronavirus tests on the TCU campus. They struggled in their opening game, winning 31-24 over Texas State as a 24.5-point favorite. The Mean Green, on the other hand, covered the spread in their first game, defeating Houston Baptist by a score of 57-31, after being a 23-point favorite. SMU defeated North Texas last season by a score of 49-27. SMU entered that game as a four-point favorite and the over/under went over.

Mustangs look for second win of the season

In a game that went back and forth for the first three quarters, with neither team holding more than a seven-point lead, the SMU Mustangs finally took the lead for good over the Texas State Bobcats, with 3:26 remaining in the third quarter on September 5, on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Shane Buechele to Reggie Roberson, Jr. It was Buechele’s only touchdown pass of the game, as he went 26-36 for 367 yards and two interceptions in the game. TJ McDaniel led the way on the ground for the Mustangs with 130 yards and a touchdown, while Ulysses Bentley IV, who had just seven carries last season, scored two touchdowns on 11 carries. Roberson, Jr. had six catches for 99 yards, while Rashee Rice caught five passes for 101 yards. The Mustangs had 544 yards of total offense.

On the defensive side of the ball, SMU gave up 189 yards on the ground on 38 attempts for a 5.0 yards per carry average. Linebacker Richard McBryde and cornerback Chevin Calloway had seven tackles apiece to lead the Mustangs. Jimmy Phillips, Jr. had SMU’s only interception, and the Mustangs recovered one fumble. SMU gave up 416 yards of total offense for the game.

“As I told the guys inside, I think the defense got four consecutive stops in the fourth quarter to help us win the ballgame,” head coach Sonny Dykes said on dallasnews.com. “So my hat’s off to the way those guys played.”

SMU has one more non-conference game, against Steven F. Austin, before beginning conference play on October 3 against the 16th-ranked Memphis Tigers. Last season, the Mustangs covered the spread in each of their first five games, before going 2-5-1 against the spread over their last eight games of the season. The over-under was 10-2-1 last season in SMU’s 13 games.

Mean Green look to build off record-setting performance

The North Texas Mean Green play their second straight home game to begin the season, after winning by 26 points in their opener. North Texas set a school record with 721 total yards against Houston Baptist in their first game since career passing leader, Mason Fine, graduated last season. His replacement, Jason Bean, had a good showing in the opener. He completed 11 of his 18 attempts for 217 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also gained 48 yards rushing with a touchdown on the ground. North Texas took a 23-10 lead into halftime, but broke the game open by outscoring Houston Baptist 20-7 in the third quarter.

“I think our running backs are really deep and we have some really good receivers," head coach Seth Littrell said on meangreensports.com. "Our skill groups are very deep, I think. Everybody's hungry. They all talk about they want to eat, well, everyone's hungry, so let's feed everyone."

Three Mean Green quarterbacks combined for 361 yards passing, while North Texas gained 360 yards on the ground. Oscar Adaway III averaged 23.6 yards per carry, as he gained 118 yards on just five carries, which included touchdown runs of 35 and 47 yards. Jaelon Darden caught a team-high five passes, three of which went for touchdowns, while Greg White led the team in receiving yards with 76, which included a touchdown.

Despite winning by a lopsided margin, the Mean Green defense did not play well. They gave up 480 yards passing and 569 total yards. They did not force a turnover in the game, and Houston Baptist won the time of possession battle, 31:41-28:19. KD Davis led the defense for North Texas with nine tackles, including seven solo tackles, one sack, and two quarterback hurries.

North Texas, who went just 4-8 last season, was even worse against the spread in 2019. They were just 3-9 against the spread, and 1-4 against the spread as an underdog last season. The over-under was 7-5 last season.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The SMU Mustangs struggled in their opening day win, but they have had a week off to regroup, and they will be ready for North Texas on Saturday. SMU quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 367 yards in week one, while North Texas gave up 480 yards through the air in their first game against Houston Baptist, an FCS school. Buechele, who has over 8,500 yards passing in his career, will exploit the Mean Green passing defense and have a big day on Saturday. The Mustangs won by 22 points over North Texas last season, and they will repeat that on Saturday. North Texas won big in their first game, but it was versus an FCS school, so this will be their first real test of the season, and they will come up with a failing grade.

Prediction: SMU -14

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Full-Game Total Pick

In each team’s opening games, they scored a combined 88 points and had nearly 1,300 yards of total offense. North Texas set a school record for most yards in a game, but they also gave up over 500 yards of total offense. There was 76 points scored between these two teams when they played each other last season. The total has gone over in 10 of SMU’s last 14 games. The Mustangs averaged 42 points per game last season, and they will get back to that level in this game. Look for Buechele to have another 300-yard game in this one. There will be a lot of points scored on Saturday, so don’t blink or you may miss something.

Prediction: Over 69.5

Doug Gilghrist

Doug has a Journalism degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has been a passionate sports fan, especially Pittsburgh sports, for over 40 years. In his journalistic career, Doug has covered just about every sport imaginable and is now plying his trade for us here at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt. Doug has always been fascinated by numbers, especially as they relate to sports, so writing for this website is right up his alley.

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