#15 Southern Methodist University Mustangs (8-0) vs #24 Memphis Tigers (7-1)
Coach: Sonny Dykes
SMU Players to watch
*Junior QB Shane Buechele (6-1/205)
On the whole, the transfer portal has been a win for college football fans, as players like Jacob Eason, Joe Burrow, and Shane Buechele get new life. Buechele transferred to Southern Methodist University after graduating from Texas in the spring of 2019, replacing Ben Hicks who transferred to the University of Arkansas. Buechele has put up 2,325 yards with an Td/Int ratio of 20-7. He’s lead the Mustangs to an 8-0 record and a #15 ranking. Plus, if he decides to stay in Dallas, he’s got another year of eligibility ahead of him.
Senior OLB/Star Patrick Nelson (6-1/205)
SMU linebacker Patrick Nelson is second in the nation in sacks with 10 this season, bolstered by his seven tackle, 2.5 sack and 3.5 tackle for loss performance against Houston on Thursday. Head coach Sonny Dykes recently said of Nelson, “He plays really hard, he’s a really tough guy, no-nonsense football player. He’s brought a toughness to our defense that I think has been important to us.” Nelson also has 11.5 tackles-for-loss this season. Nelson played his first two season at Illinois.
Senior RB Xavier Jones (5-11/215)
Jones rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2017. In 2018, he was slowed by a knee injury, and his contribution dramatically fell as a result — getting only one start; totally 69 carries for 311 yards and two touchdowns. Last week vs Houston, Jones had a 62-yard touchdown – the longest touchdown run of his career. It was his 15th touchdown of the season. Dykes is thrilled to have a health “X” back on the field. He needs just 116 yards this week to break the 1,000 yard mark for the second time in his SMU career.
*Junior WR Reggie Roberson (6-0/192)
Roberson is an explosive playmaker, averaging 18.7 yards per catch on 43 receptions this year. Roberson, the 2018 WV transfer, has shown a knack to go up and win the contested jump ball. He has 803 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Coach: Mike Norvell
Memphis Players to watch:
***rFR RB Kenny Gainwell (5-11/185)
Gainwell has excellent burst and open field quickness. So far this year, he has 979 yards on the ground; 440 in receptions; and 14 combined touchdowns. His style and skill set are similar to, say, a Bryce Love. One one play, he lines up in the backfield; on the next snap, he’s lined up in the slot. In week 9 vs Tulane, Gainwell had just over 200 yards receiving and 100+ yards on the ground — making NCAA history as the first player to go over 200 receiving yards and 100 rushing yards in the same game since 1997.
Senior DE Bryce Huff (6-3/255)
Huff has 9.5 sacks in 2019, along with an impressive 19.0 tackles-for-loss. “Every rep that I take whether its inside drill or team, I just focus on my get-off,” Huff said. Huff usually enters games on third down when defensive coordinator Chris Ball brings in his pass-rushing unit. Huff has really improved his power to speeds moves and fitting his gaps.
Senior TE Joey Magnifico (6-4/240)
Magnifico is a fan favorite – certainly, the name is part of it. But Joey has game too. He has enough speed to stretch the seam and has enough strength to hold his own as at the point of attack. He has good hands as a receiver, and does a nice job of catching the ball away from his body, turning, and powering up the field. Doubtful he gets drafted in the first three rounds, because of his size, but he’ll definitely get draft.
Senior SLB Austin Hall (6-2/215)
Hall has 38 starts at the hybrid STAR defensive position. In his career, he has 29.5 tackles-for-loss and 23 passed defended – indicative of the fact that Hall is all consistently all over the field. He is projected to play SS at the next level.
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium – AstroTurf
Nov. 2 | Memphis, TN