DALLAS, Texas – SMU seeks its sixth victory in as many games this season when it hosts Tulsa in an American Athletic Conference contest on Saturday. The Mustangs are coming off a 48-21 win at South Florida in their conference opener last weekend, while the Golden Hurricane have been off since topping Wyoming 24-21 two weeks ago.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: SMU -13
Tulsa is averaging just 21.5 points and produced only seven against a team with one of the top defenses in the nation in Michigan State in its season opener. Junior Zach Smith is coming off a 354-yard passing performance against Wyoming, the first time since December 2016 a Golden Hurricane has passed for more than 300 yards. SMU has been racking up the points this season, ranking ninth in the country with its average of 44.4. Senior Xavier Jones has rushed for 525 yards and 10 touchdowns, which ties him for first in the nation.
ABOUT TULSA (2-2)
Although the Golden Hurricane feature a pair of running backs with 1,000-yard potential in Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II, coach Philip Montgomery has been all about a balanced offensive attack. Smith certainly is helping him toward that, completing 58.5 percent of his passes on the way to 1,018 yards and five touchdowns thus far. It's not that the Golden Hurricane won't run the ball - and they may even more this week against the high-powered Mustangs - as Brooks has rushed for 314 yards and four scores this season while Taylor has gained 106 yards.
ABOUT SMU (5-0, 1-0 American)
The Mustangs' offense has been garnering a lot of headlines so far this season, but the defense has been making noise as well, as it has extended its streak to 16 consecutive games with a forced turnover while ranking No. 1 in the nation with 25 sacks. Safety Patrick Nelson leads the charge in getting after opposing quarterbacks, recording 5.5 sacks, and Delontae Scott has registered 3.5 while fellow defensive end Toby Ndukwe and defensive tackle Demerick Gary have notched three apiece. SMU also has recorded five interceptions and recovered five fumbles, tying for 10th in the nation in total turnovers gained.
1. Tulsa has held each of its first four opponents under 250 yards passing.
2. The Mustangs already have recorded 19 rushing touchdowns through five games after managing just 17 over the entire 2018 season.
3. SMU's James Proche is first in the American with 6.8 receptions per game while fellow WR Reggie Roberson Jr. leads the conference with 510 receiving yards.
PREDICTION: SMU 35, Tulsa 20