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East Carolina Pirates vs. Southern Methodist Mustangs Preview and Predictions 11-09-2019


The dream of the program's first undefeated season since 1982 might be over for SMU, but Sonny Dykes' team still has plenty to play for over its last three regular-season games. In their final tune-up before facing American Athletic Conference West leader Navy in two weeks, the 23rd-ranked Mustangs will attempt to reach the nine-win mark for the first time in 35 years Saturday when they host East Carolina.

SMU's case to represent the Group of Five in the New Year's Six was a dealt a sizeable blow following last weekend's 54-48 loss at No. 19 Memphis, not only ending the school's best start to a season since the days of "The Pony Express" but also removing it from the top of the division. The Mustangs will need to win out - including on the road in two weeks against the 25th-ranked Midshipmen - and a loss by the Tigers over their final three contests in order to get back into the conversation of playing on Jan. 1. The Pirates have dropped four straight but held a 12-point lead on No. 17 Cincinnati midway through the fourth quarter last weekend before a long interception return and field goal as time expired contributed to a 46-43 loss. "To go out there and play that way, you just hate not to get the win. We had some incredible individual performances, but the thing you focus on is what a great effort by our kids," first-year coach Mike Houston told reporters afterward.

TV: Noon ET, ESPNU. LINE: SMU -21.

ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (3-6, 0-5 American): Two of the individual performances Houston spoke of were school-record efforts by sophomore quarterback Holton Ahlers (535 passing yards - third most in conference history) and freshman receiver C.J. Johnson (12 catches for a conference-record 283 yards). "I can't tell you how many balls those two have thrown since C.J. got here last summer. ... You saw it pretty early in preseason camp that (Johnson) had that kind of ability. Then the next thing is he has really worked hard to develop himself," Houston said. Another freshman receiver, Jsi Hatfield, nearly doubled his receiving production for the season against Memphis, finishing with six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown (nine receptions for 96 yards in eight previous games combined).

ABOUT SMU (8-1, 4-1): James Proche posted a season-high 13 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown against Memphis, extending his scoring streak to eight games to match a program record while also moving into second place in FBS with 74 catches. Xavier Jones was held to a season-low 22 yards rushing but punched in a 2-yard run to continue his season-long scoring streak and increase his TD total for the year to 17 - two shy of matching Eric Dickerson's 19 in 1981. Reggie Roberson Jr. (43 catches for 803 yards and six TDs) did not travel with the team to Memphis due to a foot injury he suffered on Oct. 24 and appears unlikely to play again this weekend.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Proche's next TD catch will move him past Emmanuel Sanders (34; 2006-09) for the most in school history.

2. The Pirates have dropped seven in a row against ranked opponents since upsetting No. 25 North Carolina 70-41 in 2014.

3. The Mustangs' streak of forcing a turnover in 19 straight games came to an end against Memphis.

Prediction

Free Daily Lock Pick: NCAAF: Toledo vs. Buffalo - November 20th - (100% Confidence Release)

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Key Players to Watch

Stadium

Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Dallas, Texas, USA.
Capacity: 32,000

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Last Injuries

Southern Methodist Mustangs

  • Delano Robinson

    Undisclosed
    Prob Sat | probable

    Robinson is projected to be available against Navy on Saturday despite an unspecified injury.

  • Reggie Roberson Jr.

    Foot
    Out Sat | out

    Roberson Jr. has missed the previous two games due to a right foot injury, and he will not suit up against Navy on Saturday.

  • Myron Gailliard

    Undisclosed
    Prob Sat | probable

    Gailliard missed the previous game due to an undefined ailment. It is projected that he will play against Navy on Saturday.

  • William Brown

    Undisclosed
    Ques Sat | questionable

    Brown has not played in the previous five games due to an unspecified ailment, and his status Saturday versus Navy is clouded.

East Carolina Pirates

  • C.J. Johnson

    Undisclosed
    Prob Sat | probable

    Johnson exited the previous game with an undefined injury. It is projected that he will return against UConn on Saturday.

  • Darius Pinnix

    Red Shirt
    out for season | out

    Pinnix has decided to use the 2019 campaign as a redshirt year due to a shoulder injury.

southern-methodist-mustangs-football Stats 2019-2020

Passing
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Terrance Gipson 1 0 352.000 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 30
Shane Buechele 4 0 151.861 0 132 88 4 0 0 7 1159
Russing
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Xavier Jones 4 0 370 0 73 8
Ke'Mon Freemon 4 0 214 0 58 2
TJ McDaniel 2 0 166 0 13 3
Shane Buechele 4 0 63 0 19 1
Merek Pierce 1 0 19 0 4 1
Receiving
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Reggie Roberson Jr. 4 0 464 0 25 0 2
James Proche 4 0 280 0 27 0 3
Kylen Granson 4 0 220 0 12 0 1
Myron Gailliard 4 0 96 0 10 0 0
Tyler Page 2 0 40 0 1 0 0
Defense
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Patrick Nelson 4 0 18 9 0 1 1 19 1 6 45 6
Delano Robinson 3 0 17 4 0 0 0 0 1 2 11 2
Richard McBryde 4 0 14 6 1 0 0 0 1 1 8 1
Ar'mani Johnson 4 0 9 5 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1
Delontae Scott 4 0 9 7 1 0 0 0 0 3 24 8
Kicking
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Kevin Robledo 2 0 3 4 34 4 2
Luke Hogan 3 0 1 1 38 9 6
Russell Roberts 2 0 1 2 32 6 6
Kick Returning
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
CJ Sanders 4 0 10 0 98 289
Tyler Lavine 3 0 1 0 13 13
Tyler Page 2 0 1 0 19 19
Fumbles
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Brandon Stephens 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
James Proche 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Reggie Roberson Jr. 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Shane Buechele 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Punting
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
James Proche 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Ke'Mon Freemon 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Kylen Granson 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Luke Hogan 3 0 0 39 0 39 1 0 0
Merek Pierce 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Punt Returning
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
James Proche 4 0 6 0 20 42
Tyler Page 2 0 1 0 6 6

east-carolina-pirates-football Stats 2019-2020

Passing
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Player GP GS PR PLY PPA PPC PPI PPS PSY PT PY
Reid Herring 2 0 140.200 0 8 5 0 0 0 0 74
Holton Ahlers 4 0 105.059 0 125 71 3 0 0 2 711
Russing
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Player GP GS RNY RLY RP RT
Holton Ahlers 4 0 185 0 43 3
Darius Pinnix 2 0 157 0 32 2
Demetrius Mauney 4 0 147 0 35 0
Trace Christian 1 0 91 0 14 0
Tay Williams 1 0 71 0 5 0
Receiving
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Player GP GS RY RLY RR RT RT
Blake Proehl 4 0 183 0 18 0 1
Tyler Snead 4 0 134 0 10 0 0
Deondre Farrier 4 0 93 0 8 0 0
C.J. Johnson 4 0 87 0 10 0 0
Jsi Hatfield 3 0 45 0 7 0 0
Defense
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Player GP GS DST DAT DFF DFR DI DIY DFD DS DSY DTFL
Gerard Stringer 4 0 14 9 0 0 1 41 3 1 8 4
Bruce Bivens 4 0 13 13 0 0 0 0 0 1 8 2
Daniel Charles 4 0 12 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ja'Quan McMillian 4 0 12 0 0 0 1 32 3 0 0 1
Kendall Futrell 4 0 12 11 0 0 0 0 0 1 13 3
Kicking
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Player GP GS FGS FGA FGSLY EPKA EPKS
Jake Verity 4 0 9 11 47 8 8
Kick Returning
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Player GP GS KR KRF KRLY KRY
Tyler Snead 4 0 4 0 36 84
Colby Gore 2 0 3 0 23 57
Jsi Hatfield 3 0 2 0 21 23
Deondre Farrier 4 0 1 0 6 6
Fumbles
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Player GP GS F FL FRLBO FRT OFR OFRT
Demetrius Mauney 4 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
Holton Ahlers 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Punting
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Player GP GS P PGY PIT PLY PP PT TT
Anthony Watley 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Blake Proehl 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Darius Pinnix 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
Holton Ahlers 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
Jonn Young 4 0 0 818 0 58 20 0 0
Punt Returning
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Player GP GS PR PRF PRLY PRY
Tyler Snead 4 0 7 0 12 5