The No. 11 Houston Cougars (10-0, 6-0 C-USA) will try to stay perfect this season as they host the Southern Methodist (SMU) Mustangs (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) in a conference duel in Houston on Saturday.
The Cougars went 5-7 last season. However, it was the loss of star quarterback Case Keenum to injury that buried them. With Keenum back, the Houston offense is firing on all cylinders.
The Mustangs pulled out a surprise upset of the No. 20 TCU Horned Frogs midway through the season, which is the highlight of their year thus far.
Let’s break this matchup down.
Where: Robertson Stadium (Houston, TX)
When: 3:30 p.m. EST on Nov. 19, 2011
Houston -20, according to SportsBook
The Houston offense scores the most points per game of any team in the country. Keenum and the Cougars also lead the nation with 455.7 passing yards per outing.
The Mustangs have allowed more than 20 points to their last four opponents, all of which had inferior offenses when compared to Houston.
Houston will score plenty of points in this one—easily 20 more than the Mustangs.
75.5, according to SportsBook
As mentioned above, the Cougars lead the country in scoring. Houston scored 73 points on their own in two of the last three games.
The lowest point total to come out of a Cougars game this season was 56, but that’s because the Cougars shut out an IAA team. The Cougars won’t be able to shut out the Mustangs and their 19th-ranked pass offense.
Key Injuries (According to College Injury Report)
SMU: Zach Line (RB) is questionable with a foot injury. He suffered the injury in SMU’s last game. The junior is leading the team with 1,224 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns on 208 carries. The next best rusher for the Mustangs has 10 carries for 49 yards.
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
No. 11 Houston will only remain eligible for one of the premier bowl games if they win their last two games of the regular season. The Cougars have clearly taken advantage of a week Conference USA schedule
A loss of any kind will doom their season, making this is a must-win for Houston.
Keys to Houston Win
The Cougars needs to keep doing what they’ve been doing all season: scoring lots of points through the air.
No one has shown the ability to even slow Keenum and the high-powered Houston offense. Performances like this don’t happen very often.
Keys to SMU Win
The Mustangs need to get pressure on the quarterback. If they try to drop into coverage against Keenum, he’ll tear them apart. Without pressure on the QB, SMU has no hope.
On offense, SMU needs to establish the run early—even if Line doesn’t play. The Mustangs have the 19th-best pass offense in the nation, but are 93rd in the country at running the ball.
Without the run, the Mustangs will lose miserably.
Houston 63, SMU 24