Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday and left a trail of destruction in its path. As a result of the storm, the contest between Southern Methodist University and the University of Central Florida has been moved to Sunday, October 2. The game will be played at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando.
The SMU Mustangs lost last week against TCU in the Iron Skillet game by a final score of 42-34. The SMU defense never got set against TCU, giving up touchdowns on four of five drives and allowing huge chunks of running yards at a time. Run-stopping will be an essential key against UCF, which boasts an offense built mainly around the run game.
UCF quarterback John Rhys Plumlee completed only eight passes last week as the Knights defeated Georgia Tech 27-10. Plumlee is the team’s leading runner and turned in a 100-yard, one-touchdown performance in the win. The Knights will need to control the line of scrimmage and force SMU to rely on quarterback Tanner Mordecai.
Mordecai was off to a hot start on the season, passing for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first three games, but TCU’s aggressive defense proved to be too much last week. Mordecai threw two interceptions against two touchdowns and consistently had trouble hitting receivers, particularly early in the game. After starting the game down 28-7, Mordecai was forced to turn to the pass and ended the day completing 27 of 49 pass attempts for 372.
Receiver Jake Bailey led the Mustangs with a monstrous 163-yard day and a touchdown. Rashee Rice caught another touchdown pass to bring his season total to four, with 34 receptions total. Tre Siggers has been the go-to running back this season with a total of 50 carries and 200 yards. Against TCU last week, Siggers had 60 yards rushing on 19 carries and scored three touchdowns as SMU made an effort at a comeback late in the game.
Facing Georgia Tech last week, UCF running backs R.J. Harvey and Isaiah Bowser combined for 143 yards and an average of 5.1 yards-per-carry, but neither player scored. With Plumlee having a tough day, it was the UCF special teams unit and the defense that stepped up. Quadric Bullard returned a blocked punt for a touchdown just before halftime, giving UCF a lead they would hold onto for the remainder of the game.
The UCF defense had a combined four sacks and four passes defended along with nine tackles for loss in an effort that saw Georgia Tech total only 138 rushing yards, but they also gave up 318 yards to Yellow Jacket receivers. The defense nearly added another score after a strip-sack of Georgia Tech QB Jeff Sims by Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste. Tre’mon Morris-Brash ran the ball back 89 yards to the goal line but lost the ball, resulting in a touchback for Georgia Tech.
Betting odds currently have SMU as the favorites at +128, while UCF odds are at -156. The point spread is 3.5 in favor of the Mustangs.