South Florida Bulls vs SMU Mustangs Prediction, Game Preview - 10/02/2021

by James Q

South Florida Bulls vs SMU Mustangs Prediction, Game Preview - 10/02/2021

Game Time:  4:00 PM, Saturday, October 2nd, 2021
Venue:  Gerald J Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas
Where to Watch: ESPNU

Opening MLB Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread: SMU -21; Over/Under:  68 points
Circa:  Spread: SMU -21.5; Over/Under:  68.5 points
VegasInsider:  Spread:  SMU -21.5; Over/Under:  68.5 points

Season Record

S. Florida: 1-3 (AAC)
SMU: 4-0 (AAC)
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Utah Vs BYU Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
South Florida opened the season taking an absolute beating from the NC State Wolfpack 45-0.  The Bulls did a little better in game 2, but still took a beating from the Florida Gators 42-20.  Game 3 it was finally their turn to dish out the punishment to a tiny program, the Florida A&M Rattlers 38-17.  Feeling the need to get far away from Florida (don’t we all?), the USF Bulls played a tough contest against the BYU Cougars and lost 35-27.  The BYU game showed a lot of improvement though.  BYU is ranked (currently #13), and undefeated, and put a QB into the NFL last season. If there is such a thing as a good loss, South Florida scoring 27 against a ranked team is it.
SMU is rolling.  They haven’t started 4-0 since 1984, 5-0 since 1983, and they were national champions in 1983, back when the college playoff was a fevered dream.  In the intervening years SMU suffered a death penalty after the 1986 season for recruiting violations and paying players and providing gifts.  All of that is called Name, Image, Likeness nowadays and completely above board.  The damage was done though, for 35 years the SMU program fell down a rabbit hole behind Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, OSU, and even,,, (gasp) Texas Tech in being able to recruit Texas High School football talent.  Bad team, Bad conference, no chance… irrelevance.  Until now.  Now they are 4-0 and ranked.  The area in and around Dallas doesn’t have a powerhouse college football program, even though it is so prosperous… NIL will change that and this is exactly the momentum SMU needs.    The Mustangs opened the season by punishing the Abilene Christian Wildcats 56-9.  Game 2 brought a 35-12 win over the North Texas Mean Green.  Game 3 was a struggle against Louisiana Tech 39-37… but a win is a win.  Then SMU hit another milestone in game 4… they beat TCU 42-34… The Mustangs hadn’t beat the Horned Frogs since 2011 and that was a flukey bad year for TCU. IT may all be smoke and mirrors against small programs… but if they get past Memphis, SMU could easily run the table in the AAC.  

Offensive Analysis

The South Florida Bulls are scoring 21.3 points per game.  The offense has struggled but shown game over game improvement.  The average has increased with each final score.  They are now gaining 333 yards per game. Quarterback Timmy McClain is 40-70 passing for 57.1% with 1 TD and 2 interceptions.  The rushing game is floundering,  running back Jaren Mangham has carried 46 times for only 168 yards (3.7 per)... he has 7 touchdowns though so the low average is from punching in goal line attempts.  RB Brian Battie gets 6 yards per carry, but has had exactly half as many attempts. Receiver Xavier Weaver is the top reception man with 14 catches and averaging 21 yards per catch.

Southern Methodist University has a new look offense.  Traditionally a running school that back in the hayday put HOF running backs into the NFL draft… They have since fallen in love with the passing game behind QB Tanner Mordecai.  Tanner is 98-139 for a 70.5 completion percentage!  From his arm the ball goes everywhere on the field.  The next step is smarter decisions as Tanner has balanced his 20 passing TDs with 5 interceptions. Top WR is Danny Gray with otherworldly production of 358 yards and 5 TD on 20 Catches… He’s not alone though.  Rashee Rice, Reggie Roberson JR, and TE Grant Calcaterra all have over 200 receiving yards on the season…. So that’s it?  NO, They are also still good at running the ball! RB Ulysses Bentley IV has a 100 yard per game average while his running buddy RB Tre Siggers has pulled down 65 yards per game also.  SMU is scoring 43 points per game on 549.8 yards per game.


Defensive Analysis

South Florida is ranked 128th out of 130 in defense.  They give up 533.5 YPG.  They have 3 sacks in 4 games.  They have 3 interceptions in 4 games.  That’s a .75 per game average in each stat.

SMU is not a defensive juggernaut themselves.  They are ranked 109th in total defense. The Mustangs give up 441.8 yards per game.  The plan in Dallas is to outscore everyone that they  face in the AAC… That will not be a great plan against Memphis, but maybe they can pull it out.


Broncos vs Bulls Prediction

Our prediction for Saturday October 2nd is…. SMU 48 - SFU 17

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NCAAF Betting Trends

South Florida is 5-1 ATS as a road underdog of 17.5 - 21 points since 1993.
SMU is 9-3 ATS in home games, the last three seasons.
SMU is 11-5 ATS when playing with six or less days of rest.


Key Injuries

S. Florida:  WR Latrell Williams (ACL) Out for season  * DT Kelvin Pickney Jr (undisclosed) Questionable.

SMU:  RB TJ McDaniel (leg) Questionable.

Players to Watch

SMU:  Tre Siggers.  The senior running back from Duncanville Texas has some work to do to catch up to Ulysses Bentley.  A rainy day in Dallas may be just the thing.

South Florida:  LT Beau Morris and LG Jaylon Thomas.  If this line doesn’t hold then Freshman quarterback Timmy McClain will have a long, hard day.

Starting Lineups

South Florida:  QB Timmy McClain, RB Jaren Mangham, TE Mitchell Brinkman, WR Xavier Weaver, WR Omarion Dollison, WR Bryce Miller, LT Donovan Jennings, LG Demetris Harris, C Brad Cecil, RG Dustyn Hall, RT Demontrey Jacobs
SMU: QB Tanner Mordecai, RB Ulysses Bentley IV, TE Grant Calcaterra, WR Reggie Roberson JR, WR Rashee Rice, WR Danny Gray, LT Beau Morris, LG Jaylon Thomas, C Alan Ali, RG Hayden Howerton, RT Justin Osborne

Statistical Leaders

South Florida:
Passing: Timmy McClain 558 yards
Rushing: Jaren Mangham 168 yards
Receiving: Xavier Weaver  294 yards
Tackles: Andrew Mims  26
Interceptions:  Brock Nichols 1

Passing: Tanner Mordecai 1,268 yards
Rushing: Ulysses Bentley IV  403 yards
Receiving:  Danny Gray 358 yards
Tackles: Delano Robinson 23
Interceptions:  Isaiah Nwokobia  2


Weather Forecast

Thunderstorm.  Humidity 77%.  High of 82*... Storms are quick in Dallas, usually followed by oppressive heat and humidity. A wet field benefits SMU and their bigger runners and O-line… stinks for fans.

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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