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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Commentary

Tale of the Tape: Houston versus SMU


WEB-Justin-Tijerina-IMG_0313

Junior quarterback Greg Ward Jr. takes advantage of an opening in Texas State’s defense. | Justin Tijerina/The Cougar

The undefeated Cougars will try to continue their winning ways as they welcome in-state rival         Southern Methodist Uuniversity (1-4, 0-1) to TDECU Stadium tonight. The Cougars are coming off a tough 38-24 victory over Tulsa while the Mustangs have lost their last three games, including last weeks AAC foe East Carolina 49-23.

Will the Mustangs be able to keep up with the high-powered Cougar offense?

Quarterback matchup: Greg Ward Jr. vs. Matt Davis

Greg Ward Jr.

The reigning AAC offensive player of the week is coming off a career day where he broke a 33-year-old school record by rushing for 182 yards on 20 carries with 3 touchdowns while going 22-of-38 in the air for 273 yards, finishing with 455 total yards of offense. After the big performance, Fox Sports columnist Stewart Mandel has Ward fifth in his Heisman top 5 projections.

Matt Davis

Davis had a rough go against East Carolina University going 19-37 for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns but was sacked 8 times. It could be more of the same Thursday as he faces a very opportunistic Houston defense that has 13 sacks and forced six interceptions this season.

Who wins: While Davis has only thrown 2 interceptions on the season, the Mustang defense had trouble containing Trevone Boykin and Ward should prove to be just as difficult a task.

Running back matchup: Kenneth Farrow vs. Xavier Jones

Kenneth Farrow

The senior captain had his best game of the season against Tulsa, gaining 159 yards and 2 touchdowns on 19 carries including the final 2 scores for the Cougars that put the game away. Farrow will hope to keep up the pace against an SMU’s defense that is giving up 284.8 yards per game.

Xavier Jones

Coming off a game where he ran for just 38 yards on 11 carries Jones won’t find it any easier this week against a Houston defense that is giving up only 82.0 yards per game. Averaging just 55.8 yards per game, Jones will have to wait another week to jump start his season.

Who wins: The Cougar defense has yet to give up a 100-yard rusher this season and that streak will get to five as Farrow runs wild over a soft Mustang defense.

Wide Receiver matchup: Demarcus Ayers vs. Courtland Sutton

Demarcus Ayers

The versatile junior continued his strong season with 6 catches for 77 yards and 84 all-purpose yards against Tulsa. Now averaging 94.2 yards per game Ayers will look to take advantage of a Mustang defense allowing 308.6 yards per game.

Courtland Sutton

Coming off a lackluster performance of 4 catches for 51 yards against East Carolina Sutton hopes to prey on a Cougar defense that has susceptible to the pass at times. The Mustangs leading receiver has 21 catches for 450 yards with 5 touchdowns on the season.

Who wins: While this is the closest of all the matchups so far, Ayers’ versatility and big-play ability puts him over the edge.

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