BYU vs SMU prediction, game preview, odds, how to watch. New Mexico Bowl, Saturday, December 17
BYU vs SMU New Mexico Bowl Prediction Game Preview
BYU vs SMU How To Watch
Date: Saturday, December 17
Game Time: 7:30 ET
Venue: University Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
How To Watch: ABC
Record: BYU (7-5), SMU (7-5)
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BYU vs SMU New Mexico Bowl 5 Things To Know
– It’s the last game for BYU before being off to the Big 12 next season, and SMU would love to show the conference what it’s missing. As is, the matchup has the potential to be fun offensive show depending on the parts still around – more on that in a moment – and worth the watch if and when the Miami-Buffalo game gets dull. This will be rolling as the NFL day finishes up.
– BYU was a relative clunker in last year’s Independence Bowl loss to UAB. It lost two of its last three bowl games and five of its last eight, but head coach Kalani Sitake is 3-2 in the post-season in his six seasons.
– It’s a nice way to end SMU head coach Rhett Lashlee’s second season. His team won four of the last five games, the offense showed off a ton of passing firepower, and the program will be jacked to get to play in this after the last two bowl games were canceled including last year’s Fenway against Virginia. SMU hasn’t won a bowl since taking down Fresno State in the 2021 Hawaii.
– The New Mexico Bowl has normally been a home for a Mountain West team, but BYU ended up being the fit. The Mountain West won the last four and seven of the last nine, and none of games were particularly amazing. Last year’s 31-24 Fresno State win over UTEP was okay, but there hasn’t been a ton of scoring since Colorado State’s 48-45 win over Washington State in 2013. This New Mexico Bowl should change that.
– It’s just the fourth time these two programs will meet – BYU is 3-0. The last time was a 19-16 Cougar win back in 1997, but if you’re interested at all in the history of college football, the 1980 Holiday Bowl – a miraculous 46-45 comeback victory led by BYU QB Jim McMahon – continues to be among the greatest bowl games of all-time.
Why BYU Will Win The New Mexico Bowl
Run, run, run, and keep on running.
SMU might have a big-time offense that scores in bunches and takes teams out of their gameplans, but BYU should be able to get that big offensive line going right away and get physical.
RB Christopher Brooks came back after missing two weeks and ripped off 266 yards averaging close to eight yards per pop in the final two games – this will be his game to dominate.
On the other side, time of possession is relatively meaningless because of how quick SMU the passing game works. There’s a big problem with that – you have to beat BYU on the ground.
The Cougars are 7-0 when allowing fewer than 205 rushing yards and 0-5 when allowing more. SMU only hit the 200-yard mark three times, and all came against mediocre-to-awful run defenses.
There’s one big question mark, though, that could affect all of this …
Why SMU Will Win The New Mexico Bowl
BYU has a massive injury concern at quarterback. Jaren Hall was brilliant all year throwing for close to 3,200 yards with 31 touchdowns and just six picks, and he was second on the team in rushing. He’s very, very questionable – and most likely out – with an ankle injury which means the Cougars might have to turn to …
Uhhhhhh. That’s a great question if Hall can’t go. No one else on the roster has thrown more than one pass this year.
SMU is going to be more concerned about its own offense. Yeah, SMU wins when it runs well, but it wants to throw and throw some more. BYU was able to hold up in wins over Stanford and Utah Tech – allowing over 300 passing yards in each game – but it’s 2-4 when allowing 220 yards or more.
SMU seems like it gets 220 passing yards on the first drive – the loss to Cincinnati was the only time it didn’t get there.
BYU doesn’t have a problem keeping up the pace if the passing game works and the points are flowing, but this is probably going to be a back-and-forth fight. That means …