Memphis and SMU gave us quite the show last year towards the end of the season with Memphis edging SMU 54-48 last year.

This game will be at the start of the American Atheltic Conference this year and this year the game will be in Dallas rather than in Memphis like last year.

The two quarterbacks that put on the show last year are again the star attriction for this one with Memphis’ Brady White and SMU’s Shane Beuchele. Here are some highlights from that game:

This year, both teams have been hit with a COVID-19 cancelation with Memphis having lost or postponed three contests, while SMU has one missed.

Memphis started the season in Week 1 with an impressive win over Arkansas State–the same team that upset the Big 12’s Kansas State a week after the Tigers faced them.

But the Tigers have been struck with several COVID 19 outbreaks and lost games with Houston and UTSA (along with the preseseason loss of the Big 10’s Purdue).

SMU has played three games and quite honestly has gotten better with each game played. They sluggishly defeated Texas State and picked it against North Texas and were dominate last week against FCS Stephen F. Austin. The Mustangs lost their Week 2 game at TCU as their opponent was stricken with a COVID-19 outbreak.

Memphis Tigers (1-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)

New head coach Ryan Silverfield saw the great start by his QB Brady White in the season opener. White threw for four touchdown passes in the Arkansas State game in a game the Tigers won 37-24.

While his top wide receiver option from last year was WR Damonte Coxie, it was TE Sean Dykes who had the breakout performance in that opener with 10 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

Memphis has two main running backs in Rodrigues Clark and Kylan Watkins. Those two started the season looking to make up for the loss of Kenneth Gainwell, who opted out of the season due to COVID-19 reasons.

The Tiger defense was one last year and in the first game this year one that has done just enough to help its offense out score their opponents. This looks to be the same this year with the fairly close game with Arkansas State.

Key Player: QB Brady White

In a normal year for a a game slated for Oct. 3rd, a quarterback would be finding his rhythm and getting into mid-season form. But this year, that is not the case especially for White having played just one game and now has his second game 28 days after his opener and in a state where practices were cancelled over the time due to COVID-19 reasons. The key will be for White to knock off any rust he might have early for the Tigers to stay close in what looks to be another shootout-type game.

SMU Mustangs (3-0 Overall, 0-0 AAC)

QB Shane Buechele is off to a solid start throwing the football but SMU is looks to be more balanced this year. One breakout players for the Mustangs early on as been freshman RB Ulysses Bentley IV. So far in 2020, Bentley leads SMU with 380 rushing yards and seven scores.

The rushing game will also see some more depth this week as SEC Arkansas transfer T.Q. Jackson was announced being eligible this week.

The leading receiver has been WR Reggie Roberson, Jr. After missing the final five games of the 2019 season, Roberson,, returns as the Mustangs’ leading wide receiver for the 2020 season. Roberson, Jr., finished second on the team with 43 receptions for 803 yards and added six touchdowns in 2019.

The Mustang defense has performed much better through three games than they did in 2019. SMU has not had some of the long defensive lapses they had at times last year, such as last year’s contest with Memphis.

Key Player: QB Shane Buechele

Buechele this year has not had to be a do it all type with the passing game this year with the emerging running game but still in this contest as mentioned earlier I expect to see a lot of points scored. Buechele will need to keep pace. It also will be key early in the game for Buechele and the Mustang offense to get points early while Memphis might be knocking off the rust with is long delay in playing.

Fearless Prediction:

This game will be similar to last year’s game and the winner will likely be the team that wins the turnover battle in such a closely contested game. I will be honest that I would pick Memphis if both teams had the same number of games played but with the Tigers only with one game under their belts, I think the Mustangs will be able to get an early lead and that will be enough to hold on for the home, upset victory over the defending AAC champions. SMU 52 Memphis 45

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