#15 SMU And #24 Memphis: 2 Of The Best Group Of 5 Teams
By: Tony Thomas October 27, 2019
There are 6 teams in the Group of 5 that are currently ranked in the AP Top 25, with a combined record of 41-4. Two of those teams will play each other on Saturday: #15 SMU (8-0) will go on the road to play #24 Memphis (7-1).
SMU, coached by Sonny Dykes, has been one of the great stories of college football this season.
Undefeated for the first time since 1982, the Mustangs have a Top Ten offense that scores 43 points and averages 504 yards per game. SMU has broke the 500-yard mark in total offense in 4 of their 8 games and has scored 40 or more points in 6 of their 8 games this season.
The Mustang offense is led by QB Shane Buechele, a transfer from Texas, who has passed for 2325 yards and 20 TDs and 7 INTs and is completing 63% of his passes. Buechele is averaging 290 yards per game. RB Xavier Jones leads the rushing attack with 884 yards and 14 TDs. WR Reggie Roberson has 43 catches for 803 yards and 6 TDs and WR James Proche has 61 catches for 692 yards and 9 TDs.
The SMU defense has been equally effective, ranking #4 nationally in tackles for loss with 70, averaging 8.5 TFL’s per game. DB Patrick Nelson is #2 in the country in sacks with 10 and #8 nationally in tackles for loss with 12.5. DB Rodney Clemons has been active in the secondary with 4 INTs to his credit.
The Mustangs on defense have allowed only 6 rushing touchdowns so far this season, held opponents to less than 100 yards rushing in 4 out of 8 games, and has forced 3 or more turnovers in 4 out of 8 games.
The Memphis Tigers are a similar team. Coached by Mike Norvell, the Tigers are scoring 39 points per game and have scored 40 or more points 5 times this season.
RB Kenneth Gainwell has gained over 1400 yards from scrimmage and scored 14 TDs.
QB Brady White has thrown for 2161 yards and 20 TDs and only 4 INTs, completing 69% of his passes. White has spread the ball around, throwing the majority of his passes to 5 different receivers who have combined for 91 receptions for 1634 yards and 14 of his 20 TD passes.
The Memphis defense has allowed less than 100 yards passing 3 times this season and has allowed only 9 passing TDs. The Tigers have made 7 interceptions, recorded 16 sacks, and made 53 tackles for loss.
The highest-ranked Group of 5 team at the end of the season gets an automatic bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. The way SMU has been playing, the Mustangs have the inside track to do just that.
But first, they have to get past Memphis.
Thanks for reading.