UCF Knights vs. SMU Mustangs Prediction & Game Preview -- 11/13/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: Noon ET
Venue: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
Where to watch: ESPNU

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: SMU -7
BetMGM: SMU -7.5
Caesars: SMU -7

Season record
UCF: 6-3 (4-2 AAC)
SMU: 7-2 (3-2 AAC)

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UCF - SMU preview and analysis


Last week
UCF: won 14-10 vs. Tulane
SMU: lost 28-25 at Memphis

Hello. This is a message for the SMU Mustangs, and them alone. We might need all other parties to leave the room, for this message is very important.

Everyone’s gone? It’s just us? Good.

SMU, you had one job.

There are times where people just need Adam Sandler screaming “YOU BLEW IT!” at the top of his lungs to get the point across, but man, SMU needs that thing on loop.

This is all to say the Mustangs’ run at a potential big-time bowl game have gone up in smoke and now they’re playing for pride heading into Saturday’s game against the UCF Knights in Dallas.

I have spent a good portion of the day trying to understand how SMU got in this position. The Mustangs were supposed to run the table, get to an impromptu AAC championship game against the Cincinnati Bearcats and be given an opportunity to turn college football on its head.

We regret to inform everybody that the Mustangs lost that opportunity when they gave up a kickoff return for a touchdown in the final 30 seconds to lose to the Houston Cougars the day before Halloween, then failed to defeat the Memphis Tigers the following week and making every American Athletic Conference supporter to ask themselves why is the world the way that it is?

SMU had to rally from down 28-10 in the fourth quarter to even have an opportunity to cover, but the Mustangs’ offense ran out of gas. Normally a high-octane passing attack, quarterback Tanner Mordecai threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw an interception.

Memphis outgained SMU 460-321; the Mustangs had three turnovers, and were out first-downed 25-16. It is November and things are weird in college football to the point where logic makes no sense.

And now comes a UCF team, red-hot after winning three in a row since losing by 35 to Cincinnati, making a charge for a bowl game. The Knights are coming off a 4-point victory over the pesky Tulane Green Wave. When I say this game was even, it really was. The one-win Green Wave had a 279-277 advantage in yards, had a near-seven-minute edge in time of possession, and still lost the game.

UCF quarterback Mikey Keene had a decent NFL-type statline by going 19 of 25 for 229 yards and both touchdowns. That included the winner to Brandon Johnson with 5:55 remaining in the fourth quarter. UCF absolutely did not cover that game, in case you were wondering.

Leading receiver Ryan O’Keefe caught a team-high 11 receptions for 94 yards and Keene’s first touchdown in the very beginning of the game.

Prediction


It was about as bad of a road trip as SMU could have, but returning home, the Mustangs should be much better. Given UCF’s latest run, I get the sense this is going to be a fun back-and-forth game with two talented quarterbacks. I will give SMU one more game to prove itself, but that Adam Sandler loop is waiting and ready. SMU by 8

Betting trends


UCF is 6-16 ATS in its last 22 conference games.

UCF is 1-5 ATS following a three-game stretch of one turnover or less.

UCF is 5-10 ATS in road games in its last 15.

SMU is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 home games as a favorite.

SMU is 3-1 ATS this season after its last game was on the road.

Statistical leaders


UCF:
Passing: Mikey Keene -- 1,089 yards, 12 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Isaiah Bowser -- 549 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Ryan O’Keefe -- 582 yards, 5 TD
Defense: Big Kat Bryant -- 4.5 sacks

SMU:
Passing: Tanner Mordecai -- 2,887 yards, 34 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Tre Siggers -- 570 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Danny Gray -- 780 yards, 9 TD
Defense: Turner Coxe -- 5 sacks

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

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

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