HOUSTON, Texas—Coming off of a quick road trip to Connecticut, the Houston Cougars return home to TDECU Stadium for a brief battle against American Athletic Conference foe and in-state rival, the Southern Methodist University Mustangs. The Cougars are looking to improve upon their 3-1 on the season and are also looking to stay perfect in conference play. Houston is coming off of a 20-13 victory over the tough and scrappy University of Temple Owls..
SMU comes into TDECU Stadium after blowing out the University of Connecticut Huskies last week at home, 49-28. SMU quarterback Ben Hicks had another marvelous game through the air as he threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns. Two of his touchdown passes were to wide receiver Trey Quinn and the other two touchdown passes were to primary wide receiver Courtland Sutton. The Houston secondary faces a very difficult test in thee SMU offense and if they cannot find a way to shut down Sutton and Quinn, it’ll be a long day for the Cougars defense. What will be key for Houston is if shutdown cornerback Alex Myres is able to get back onto the field as he will greatly improve the defense.
SMU was also able to get their three-headed monster of running backs going last week against Connecticut. Running backs Braeden West, Xavier Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman wore down the Huskies defense which helped open up the air attack for the Mustangs. This back-field combination may be able to do damage this week if Houston All-American defensive lineman Ed Oliver is unable to play, as he was injured in last weekend’s game and did not return. There hasn’t been any word from the Houston coaching staff this week about the status of Oliver, other than that he’s day-to-day.
Quarterback Kyle Postma will start under center for Houston this week for the second time this season, as former starter Kyle Allen was benched during the Texas Tech game and has not seen the field since. Postma is the definition of a true dual-threat quarterback and gives Houston head coach Major Applewhite the opportunity to open up another half of the playbook that he did not have the chance to do with Allen.
If Houston wants to have a chance against the Mustangs this week, they’ll need to establish their running game. The Houston running Back duo of Dillon Birden and Duke Catalon have not yet eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game this season. This has caused the Houston offense to be one dimensional and predictable at times.
If the Texas Tech game a couple weeks ago was not a test to see how this Houston team stacks up against teams with explosive offenses, this game sure will be. Especially with it being a conference game. If Ed Oliver happens does not play Saturday, Houston will be in trouble. This SMU team will put up points in a hurry and I do not envision Major Applewhite’s team being able to keep up. Hicks and the SMU passing attack will have a field day on the road and this will be another tough day for the Cougar’s running game. SMU runs away this one by a score of 52-21.