SMU Mustangs College Football Preview 2021: Keys To The Season
SMU Mustangs Biggest Key: Offense
Hit 300 passing yards. It’s a Sonny Dykes offense, so it’s going to throw the ball around. The running game has been great since he took over, but the efficiency and effectiveness of the passing attack is the biggest indicator of success.
Against FBS teams – there wasn’t any need to wing it around in the blowout win over Stephen F. Austin – SMU was 6-1 when it threw for 300 yards or more and 0-2 when it didn’t. The one loss to East Carolina came when the D went kaput.
Even more than the yards is the completion percentage. In the two losses to Tulsa and Cincinnati, SMU was under 60%. Those were the only two FBS games it was under the mark. It’s 1-4 in its last five games when not hitting 60%.
Speaking of that East Carolina game …
SMU Mustangs Biggest Key: Defense
Don’t give up 300 passing yards – or rushing. This might be a high-powered offensive team, but it also likes to keep control of the pace. That’s hard to do when the D is getting lit up.
SMU lost three games last year. One was to Cincinnati when allowing more than 300 rushing yards, and the other two were against Tulsa and East Carolina when it got hit for well over 300 yards through the air. North Texas was the outlier – giving up 305 passing yards – but the Mean Green defense was at a whole other level of awful.
The team is 2-4 in the last six games it gave up 300 passing yards. On the plus side, outside of North Texas, there aren’t any dangerous passing teams on the slate until November.
SMU Mustangs Key Player To A Successful Season
PK Blake Mazza, Sr.
The Mustangs have several big transfers coming in, but in a drive-for-show-putt-for-dough sort of way, locking up the kicker situation was vital. SMU didn’t just replace First Team All-AAC PK Chris Naggar – who nailed 17-of-21 field goals last year – it might have upgraded.
Mazza was money for Washington State – we want credit for Money Mazza, by the way, if that sticks – hitting 34-of-40 field goals in three seasons and 127 of his 133 extra point attempts.
SMU Mustangs Key Game To The 2021 Season
UCF, Nov. 13
The date against Memphis the week before is more important to the West race, but the Mustangs have one home game in the storm of a brutal four game run of at Houston, at Memphis, UCF and at Cincinnati. They could take the West by winning at least two of those, but lose at home to the Knights and there’s a problem.
SMU is 0-5 in the last five games against UCF since winning in 2011.
2020 SMU Mustangs Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 13-of-22 (59%) – SMU 7-of-18 (39%)
– Passing Yards: SMU 3,180 – Opponents 2,419
– Average Yards Per Play: SMU 6.6 – Opponents 5.6