Michigan’s week 3 opponent used to be good back in the 80’s, but it’s 2018.
The SMU Mustangs.
SMU has only gone to five bowl games in the last 33 years.
The last time SMU was relevant, we’d have to go back to 1984, a year where Ghostbusters, This Is Spinal Tap, and Purple Rain all were hit films. The Mustangs defeated Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl that year.
The 2018 version of the SMU Mustangs aren’t doing so hot to start off the season. They lost their first game to North Texas 46-23, and then lost to TCU last week 42-12. The only positive for SMU and head coach Sonny Dykes is they competed with TCU for the first half, trailing them by just two points (14-12).
The SMU squad is a major work in progress. They are ranked near the bottom of the barrel in just about every statistical category on both sides of the football. No glaring strengths, but a lot of glaring weaknesses through two games.
2018 Team Stats
- Total Offense- 124th
- Rushing Offense- 125th
- Passing Offense- 102nd
- Team Passing Efficiency- 116th
- Scoring Offense- 117th
- Total Defense- 108th
- Rushing Defense- 80th
- Passing Yards Allowed- 110th
- 3rd Down Conversion Percentage- T-125th
- Time of Possession- 128th
- Team Tackles for Loss- 10th
- Sacks- 84th
SMU head coach Sonny Dykes talks about facing Michigan:
- “Our players aren’t going, ‘Oh my goodness, we’ve got to go play Michigan.’ Our guys are excited to go play Michigan and as a football program, it’s a big challenge, but at the same time, it’s an opportunity to go out and to perform well on a big stage in front of a big crowd against the winningest program in college football history.”
- “You can look at it and say, ‘Oh poor us.’ We don’t choose to look at it that way. We choose to see it as an opportunity and our guys will play hard and our guys think if they play hard, then we’ll have a chance to win.”
- “They’re a downhill scheme defensively and a downhill scheme offensively. So it’s a different scheme. Patterson is like most first year players; he’s learning. He made big improvements from week one to week two. I’d expect him to improve from week two to week three. That’s just what guys do when they’re new in a system.”
Players to watch
QB Ben Hicks- The junior QB threw for 32 touchdowns and 3,569 yards in 2017, but he’s had a rough season in 2018 to date. Hicks has completed just 48.4% of his throws.
RB Braeden West- One of the lone bright spots for the Mustangs, West had 86 yards receiving in week one, and 78 yards rushing in week two. The multi-purpose back is averaging 5.5 yards per carry.
WR James Proche- This will be a nice little challenge for the Wolverines secondary. Proche averaged 20.4 yards per reception in 2017 and went off against undefeated Central Florida, totalling 7 receptions for 173 yards and a score. The junior has 8 receptions for 127 yards and a TD so far this season. Proche has big time play ability, and although the Mustangs may be a bad team, this is a player Michigan must be aware of.
How will SMU fare against Michigan?
The result will be eerily similar to the 49-3 victory Michigan had over Western Michigan. SMU doesn’t play with a sense of urgency when down big, and they don’t take many shots down the field. Expect plenty of check-down passes by SMU to transpire and for the Michigan defense to sack Ben Hicks at least four times.
The SMU offense is strictly out of the shotgun and it will at least test the awareness of Michigan’s secondary. Beyond that, the offensive line self destructs more often than not and I believe this game could get ugly.
For Michigan’s offense, it should be another game where the passing game and rushing attack make positive strides. The U-M offensive line looked better last week against in inferior opponent, and they should pick right back up where they left off.