SMU Faces Baylor In Second Straight Season Opener


Perhaps the primary objective for SMU against No.4 Baylor is to simply keep the game close.

Finally, after seven long months of anticipation, the 2015 College Football season is set to kick off this weekend. This will be a time when everything else in life becomes obsolete to football fans around the globe and especially around the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

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Out of the three major college teams located around DFW, TCU and SMU will be in action this first week of what should be an amazing season. North Texas will kick their season off during week two when they face crosstown rival SMU.

The Mustangs have the privilege of playing at home, but they have to face No. 4 Baylor.

This will make the second-straight season the Mustangs and Bears have faced each other during the first week of the season. Last years game ended in a 45-0 beat down at the hands of Baylor in Waco, which turned out to be the beginning of the end for head coach June Jones.

When Jones resigned following another week two bashing at the hands of North Texas, it was all downhill for the Mustangs until the final week of the season when they managed to upset Connecticut 27-20 to ride out on a high note.

Now, with a new, young head coach in place the Mustangs will be riding high trying to avenge that horrendous loss to begin last season, but they’ll more than likely endure a similar fate. Baylor head coach Art Briles and his Bears are too much for a SMU program that is still trying to recover from the ‘death penalty’ it experienced many moons ago.

Even though Mustang fans will be devastated once again by the scoreboard, this game will be a good learning tool for head coach Chad Morris. It will be a way to see what he has to work with and what direction he needs to take since Baylor is one of the top programs in the nation.

The big thing Morris needs from his team is to keep the game close. As long as the Mustangs defense can slow the Baylor offense down, Morris will be able to judge what type of offense he has this year. If the game gets out of hand then Briles will have backups in quickly and it will basically be a meaningless game for both teams at that point.

The Mustangs defense is actually not as bad as a lot of critics make it out to be. This is a defense that is led by safeties Deion Sanders Jr. and Darrion Richardson.

Richardson provides both leadership and big play abilities while Sanders is more known for the plays he makes on special teams. Fans should also keep an eye on linebacker Jonathan Yenga, tackle Zach Wood, and cornerbacks Horace Richardson and Jesse Montgomery. All six players are very capable of disrupting any offense they face if they are all on the same page.

The defense is not the biggest problem Morris is facing this season. Even though the Mustangs defense was ranked 119 last season, they’ll be an improved group this season.

It’s the Mustangs offense that has the biggest question marks surrounding it.

Since Morris arrived on campus this spring he has been busy installing an uptempo style of offense to try to keep defenses on their heels this season. The problem Morris faces is the talent he has to work with. Morris is still working primarily with players that Jones recruited for the offense he ran.

The Mustangs have seven returning offensive starters this season that are looking to prove that the 2014 season was a fluke –  that includes quarterback Matt Davis and running back Prescott Line.

Dec 6, 2014; East Hartford, CT, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs running back Prescott Line (42) runs the ball against Connecticut Huskies linebacker Graham Stewart (2) during the second half at Rentschler Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, Davis seemed to be the most successful of all the Mustangs quarterbacks that saw action. Davis completed 54.3 percent of his passes for 855 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions in 10 games.

Line on the other hand is playing for something a lot deeper than just making it to a bowl game. Line is playing for family pride. Prescott is the younger brother of SMU standout running back Zach Line.

Zach spent four seasons with the Ponies between 2009-2012 where he posted three straight seasons where he had at least 1,200 yards rushing and double digit touchdowns.

So far, Prescott has yet to break the 500 yard mark in two seasons.

This needs to be the season where Prescott steps up and solidifies his career as a top back that is ready to lead his team. If Line can lead the offensive attack on the ground, he make things a lot easier on Davis when it’s time to pass the rock around.

If Line can run the ball against the Baylor defense, it should give him the confidence to take his career to the next level.

That is a big if, however.

Moving the ball on offense for the Mustangs will be a huge task in general when they face Baylor.

Like I said before, all SMU needs to do is keep this one close. If the Mustangs can build up some confidence against Baylor, they may have a fighting chance against North Texas on September 12.

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