SMU Mustangs vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders, Week 1 College Football, Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock Texas 3:30 PM EST Sunday September 5, 2010 on ESPN/ESPN3
By Jason Green of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Texas Tech -14 / SMU +14
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On a Sunday afternoon non-conference game in a Lone Star State match up the Texas Tech Red Raiders of the Big 12 will host the SMU Mustangs of Conference USA. The Red Raiders will, once again, have a high powered offense and they will be facing an up and coming SMU squad that won 4 of their last 5 games last season and then smoked Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl 45-10, which was their first bowl game since 1984.
Texas Tech, who won 8 games last season, will pass the ball a lot this season, but since they finally have a legit RB in Baron Batch they will run the ball more and they will also change their defensive scheme. Defense, Texas Tech? Really?
We all know Texas Tech will score a lot of points, but June Jones and the Mustangs also use a run-and-shoot offense and their season may hinge on how QB Kyle Padron, who started 7 games last season as a freshman, runs it. While the offense will not be a problem for either team the key in this game will be if either team can play any defense.
Taylor Potts (3,440 yards 22 TD 13 INT last season) is the starter for Tech and he was inconsistent last season and will have to cut down on his INT’s in big games. The secondary of the Mustangs is decent led by FS Chris Banjo and CB Sterling Moore and last season SMU ranked 3rd in the C-USA in takeaways.
Tech RB Baron Batch is a dual threat out of the backfield and last season he rushed for 884 yards and in his career in a Red Raiders’ uniform he has 108 catches for 885 yards. He may see more action in this game in order to keep the high-scoring offense of the Mustangs on the sidelines. That is also a concern for a SUM defense since their weakness is their pass defense, which ranked 88th in the nation last season.
The Mustangs’ secondary has to have good coverage on the Red Raiders WR’s of Detron Lewis (65 rec 884 yards last season) and Tramain Swindall (55 rec 694 yards last season. The SMU front line, which has some solid LB’s has to get to Potts and not allow him time in the pocket.
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The SMU offense is led by Kyle Padron, who last year led the Mustangs to the 15th ranked passing offense. RB Zach Line is the go to guy in the backfield for the Mustangs and he will have to play well to take some pressure off Padron and keep the Red Raiders from only focusing on the pass.
The Red Raiders’ defense is quick and agile and they will come with an array of blitz packages and they will need to get to Padron since the secondary of Tech is a concern.
The Red Raiders’ offensive line returns only 2 starters while the Mustangs get most of their O-line back. That will be huge in this game and if the Tech line does not look cohesive, like they did in much of last season, they will be in trouble in this game. They have to not only protect Potts, but they also have to open up holes for Batch.
Look for both teams to light up the scoreboard, but for the Red Raiders to have a more balanced offense with a better running game. If Tech can get to Padron just a few times, which they will do in this game, they will be in good shape.
Batch will have a good game and that will be a key since it will help the Red Raiders win the time of possession battle. When a run and gun offense has a legit RB, which Tech has, they are tough to beat.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Both teams will air it out in this game, but the Red Raiders have a good running game. Even though Texas Tech will win this game it will be pretty close and SMU will cover the 14-point spread.