The Mustangs are trying to keep pace with No. 21 Houston and Tulsa in the difficult Conference USA West Division. The game is big for the Golden Eagles, too, because they are one of four teams entering the week with one conference loss in the C-USA East. Both teams are receiving votes in the AP Top 25.
SMU RB Zach Line, a converted linebacker, leads the conference in scoring (13 points per game) and rushing (111 yards per game). He’s surpassed 100 yards in four of six games this year and nine of his past 13 overall. The Golden Eagles held three of their first five opponents under 100 rushing yards before Navy rushed for 421 yards in a 63-35 Southern Miss win two weeks ago.
SMU QB J.J. McDermott is 5-0 as a starter since replace Kyle Padron during the season-opening loss to Texas A&M. He had a career-high 358 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s 38-17 victory against Central Florida, which entered the game ranked No. 2 in pass defense and hadn’t allowed a passing TD.
Eight different Golden Eagles scored touchdowns in the 63-35 win over Navy. Marquese Wheaton started the scoring with a 79-yard return of a blocked field goal, and quarterback Austin Davis finished it with a 1-yard plunge. Davis had three touchdown passes — to three different receivers, of course. The only scorer to double up was running back Tracy Lampley on 4- and 5-yard runs.