SMU (2-2) at Central Florida (3-1)
When: Wednesday, October 5th 2022
Where: FBC Mortgage Stadium,
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN2
Opening Odds: Central Florida -3.5/64.5
We get a rare midweek treat this Wednesday in College Football, however, it came at an expense. Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc across the state of Florida and moved a few games back while power was restored and the cleanup began. The SMU Mustangs and Central Florida Golden Knights were supposed to play Saturday, but the game was pushed back one day and then again to this Wednesday. It will be the conference opener for both schools, as the rest of the American Athletic Conference has played at least one game thus far. UCF has used strong defense to get off to a 3-1 start including a 27-10 home win over Georgia Tech on Sep. 24. The Knights got 284 yards rushing in the game and are one of the best running teams in the country behind coach Gus Malzahn.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs dropped their second game in a row in Week 4, a 42-34 setback at home to TCU. As it’s turning out, the Horned Frogs are one of the best teams in the country right now, so an eight-point loss doesn’t look all that bad. SMU fell behind 28-7 and that proved to be too much to overcome. First-year SMU coach Rhett Lashlee was the offensive coordinator at Auburn from 2013 to 2016, and coached under Malzahn. That stretch included a national championship appearance in 2013. SMU steamrolled the Golden Knights 55-28 last season and the home team is 8-0-1 ATS in the last nine matchups.
SMU’s defense gave up touchdowns on four of TCU’s first five possessions and ultimately fell short. The offense came to life before halftime and racked up 476 yards of total offense, but were done in by a pair of interceptions thrown by Tanner Mordecai. He has completed just 58.4 percent of his passes for 1,385 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Mordecai has thrown a touchdown pass to eight different receivers, led by four to Rashee Rice, who leads the team with 34 catches for 565 yards. Tre Siggers has 200 yards rushing on the season with four touchdowns on 50 carries.
Central Florida quarterback John Rhys Plumlee failed to complete a pass in the first quarter against the Yellow Jackets and finished the day 8-of-16 for a measly 49 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. Plumlee did have 16 carries for a team-high 100 yards and a touchdown. The rushing attack also received contributions from RJ Harvey and Isaiah Bowser, as the Knights averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Plumlee has rushed for a team-high 404 yards to go along with four scores, while Bowser has 228 yards and a team-high five rushing touchdowns on 69 carries. The UCF defense ranks eight in the country, allowing 13.5 points a game.
This is expected to be a high-scoring affair with a total set at 64.5. I’m going to take SMU and the points here. It won’t be easy, but the Mustangs just need to focus on stopping the run since UCF has no passing game. SMU’s offense was pretty impressive against a very good TCU team last week and should have success here on Wednesday.
Pick: SMU +3