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No. 23 SMU visits Memphis eager to bounce back off 1st loss

November 4, 2021 GMT
SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws the ball against Houston during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
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SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws the ball against Houston during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)
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SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) throws the ball against Houston during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

No. 23 SMU (7-1, 3-1 AAC) at Memphis (4-4, 1-3), Saturday at noon EDT (ESPNU).

Line: SMU by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Memphis leads 9-4.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

No. 23 SMU needs a win to bounce back from its first loss of the season. The loss to Houston on a late kickoff return for a touchdown dropped the Mustangs four spots in the Top 25. Another loss would end the Mustangs’ hopes for the league title with a game at No. 2 Cincinnati still on the schedule. Memphis can take a big step toward salvaging coach Ryan Silverfield’s second season with an upset in a series the Tigers have had the edge.

KEY MATCHUP

SMU QB Tanner Mordecai, the American Athletic Conference’s top passer, against Memphis’ defense. Mordecai leads the league throwing for an average of 328.1 yards per game with 32 TD passes, and he’s averaging an AAC-high 350.1 yards of total offense per game. Memphis has the league’s top two tacklers and has held its last two opponents below 300 yards total offense.

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PLAYERS TO WATCH

SMU: RB Tre Siggers. He has scored at least one TD rushing in four straight games, and he had a TD run and TD catch in the loss to Houston. He leads SMU with 517 yards rushing on 114 carries.

Memphis: WR Calvin Austin III. He’s the league’s leading receiver and sixth nationally averaging 112.6 yards receiving per game. He’s fourth in the conference in scoring with eight TD catches, and Austin also has scored off a rush and a punt return.

FACTS & FIGURES

Memphis is 5-2 against SMU in this series at home. ... SMU snapped a six-game skid in the series last season. SMU hasn’t won back-to-back games in this series since 2012-13. ... SMU coach Sonny Dykes has won 24 games since the start of the 2019 season, most of any FBS team in Texas. ... SMU leads the AAC in both scoring offense (42.0) and total offense (504.1). ... Memphis is 34-4 in the Liberty Bowl since 2016 and 9-1 with Silverfield as head coach. ... Memphis has conference-high 69 victories since 2014 and ranks 10th nationally in that span. ... Memphis freshman QB Seth Henigan ranks 11th nationally averaging 307.6 yards per game and 22nd with 16 TD passes. He missed the last game with an injured right shoulder.

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