North Texas Daily

Behind enemy lines: an inside look at SMU football from a Mustang

Behind enemy lines: an inside look at SMU football from a Mustang

September 03
11:36 2016

Editor’s note: Before Saturday evening’s rivalry bout between North Texas and SMU, the North Texas Daily went behind enemy lines with Nikki Chavanelle, publisher of SMU Rivals.com to get an inside scoop on the Mustangs. Here are some highlights.

Who is a player to watch on SMU?

Nikki Chavanelle: SMU has a few attention grabbers right now but no player brings more excitement to this season than sophomore wide receiver Courtland Sutton.  The former freshman All-American has a great connection with quarterback Matt Davis and when the two get together, big plays happen.  Sutton had 49 receptions last season for 862 yards and nine touchdowns.  There’s every reason to believe Sutton will be even better this season so Mean Green fans should get familiar with No. 16.

What might UNT fans not know about this SMU team?

NC: Everyone might’ve overlooked SMU last season as the Mustangs just seemed to roll over after playing JMU but don’t let the record fool you.  Coach Chad Morris’s up-tempo offense is a scoring machine, and getting better.  The receiving corp has so much depth and if that’s not enough, SMU also has a stable of young running backs like Xavier Jones,  Braeden West and Aphonso Thomas waiting to be the guy on the Hilltop.

SMU started really strong last year but kind of fell off the map. How has the team responded and will they be ready for the season opener?

NC: Coach Morris has said it about a thousand times since last season but the Mustangs are treating every day like a new day.  They take one swing a day to get one percent better and every player has been drinking the SMU kool-aid.  They are full of energy and each player has a crater-sized chip on his shoulder because they are tired of the attitude towards the program. Unfortunately for UNT fans, SMU is going to come out of the gate firing, because they have to. The Mustangs sat a bunch of starters in the last open run-through before this game so expect them to be fresh and ready.

Which North Texas player should concern SMU the most?

NC: Based on UNT’s lack of depth at receiver, SMU’s biggest threat will probably be the Mean Green running game.  SMU gave up 3340 yards rushing last season… that’s pretty bad.  While the defensive line has acquired some young talent, it’s going to be up to the linebackers to stop the run at the second level. North Texas has young running back Jeffrey Wilson who looks poised for a big year if he stays healthy. With his ability to hit holes hard and explode on the second level, he could wreak havoc for SMU.

Prediction and score

NC: SMU isn’t about to lay down and allow UNT to give them their first loss of the season, I think they’ll battle it out all four quarters.  I’m predicting a fire show from the SMU offense and some decent play on the defense to give SMU a 37-24 win.

About Author

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell

Reece Waddell was the Editor-in-Chief of the North Texas Daily from May 2017 to December 2017. He previously served as the Sports Editor and Senior Sports Writer. Reece also worked at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV.

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