For the second week in a row, North Texas makes our American Athletic Conference Game of the Week. The Mean Green have continued to play competitively against AAC competition, with not much to show. SMU joins UTSA and Tulane as the three teams that are 5-0 in the AAC with three games left.
SMU won’t play either Tulane or UTSA during the regular season, although a game next week against Memphis will be huge. The Mustangs can’t afford to look past North Texas.
North Texas-SMU How To Watch
Friday, 9 p.m. (ET)
Records: North Texas (3-6, 1-4 AAC), SMU (7-2, 5-0).
North Texas-SMU Betting Odds
SMU -16.5 (-110)
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
North Texas: Eric Morris (27-24)
SMU: Rhett Lashlee (14-8)
Sept. 3, 2022 — SMU won 48-10 at North Texas
This was Lashlee’s successful debut as SMU’s head coach. Tanner Mordecai threw for 432 yards and four touchdowns. Rashee Rice, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, had 166 receiving yards and a TD. SMU outgained North Texas 576-422. Oscar Adaway III rushed for 117 yards and a 35-yard TD on 20 carries for North Texas.
Why This Game Is Important
Since SMU, UTSA, and Tulane are all 5-0 in AAC action, the Mustangs need a win to keep up with the frontrunners. One conference loss could possibly eliminate a team from earning a berth in the AAC championship game. North Texas has played every AAC rival in competitive games and this figures to be no different despite the Mean Green’s 1-4 conference mark.
North Texas-SMU Preview
For North Texas
The Mean Green are coming off a 37-29 home loss to UTSA. All four AAC losses have been by one score. The others to Navy, Tulane, and Memphis came by a combined 13 points.
Against UTSA, junior QB Chandler Rogers ended his FBS best streak of 288 pass attempts without an interception. He completed 20-of-38 passing for 288 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. For the season, he has completed 63.5% of his passes for 2,445 yards, 21 touchdowns, and three interceptions.
In the UTSA loss, junior RB Ayo Adeyi rushed for 105 yards on 17 carries and became the 13th player in program history to surpass 2,000 career rushing yards. Ja’Mori Maclin is a big-play threat at receiver. He has 44 receptions for 776 yards and 11 TDs. Maclin was held in check by UTSA with five receptions for 63 yards and no scores. LB Jordan Brown has a team-high 69 tackles. The Mean Green averages 34.7 points but allows 36.6, which is 126th nationally.
Last week, SMU earned a 36-31 win at Rice. It was the Mustangs’ fifth consecutive win since a 34-17 loss at TCU. Against Rice, Preston Stone was 15-of-28 passing for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also rushed for 81 yards and a TD on eight carries.
Stone has completed 58.8% of his passes for 2,362 yards, 21 TDs, and five interceptions. Jaylan Knighton has rushed for 511 yards (5.4 avg.) and four TDs. The receiving corps is balanced as Jake Bailey and RJ Maryland each have a team-high five touchdown receptions. LB Kobe Wilson has a team-high 51 tackles. SMU averages 40 points per game, which is seventh nationally, and allows 15.89, which is ninth.
North Texas-SMU Prediction
I like North Texas +16.5.
While SMU is the pick to win the game, the fact that North Texas has played competitively in every AAC game this season, especially against quality teams such as Tulane, Memphis, and UTSA, suggests that the Mean Green can do the same against SMU.
Even with Rogers throwing two interceptions, North Texas was competitive with UTSA. If Rogers reverts to his previous mistake-free form, then North Texas should be able to score plenty of points. The Mean Green will also surrender their share, but they should be able to stay within two touchdowns of SMU.