Oct 16, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Shane Buechele (7) throws a touchdown against the Tulane Green Wave during the first half at Yulman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

No. 16 SMU ready to measure itself vs. No. 9 Cincinnati

Ninth-ranked Cincinnati hopes to play a game for the first time in three weeks when it visits No. 16 SMU in an American Athletic Conference showdown on Saturday night in Dallas.

The Bearcats (3-0, 1-0 AAC) pulled out of last week’s road game at Tulsa two days prior to the scheduled Saturday contest due to an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the Cincinnati program.

Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell looked back at the decision on Tuesday and wondered if maybe the team should have traveled to Tulsa.

“I still believe in some ways we maybe panicked a little bit,” Fickell said at his press availability.

“In my eyes, I wouldn’t want to cancel any game. In my eyes, I don’t know that we couldn’t have played. But nonetheless, it was a good second half of the week that we ended up with no positive cases and felt a lot better by the time it was Friday and Saturday.”

As Fickell learned, coaches don’t make the decisions during the coronavirus pandemic. The medical staff was deeply concerned, and the game was postponed until Dec. 5.

“There is no silver lining to not playing,” Fickell said. “It is what it is, and you need to handle it and deal with it.”

The Bearcats haven’t played since defeating South Florida 28-7 on Oct. 3 in Cincinnati.

SMU (5-0, 2-0) edged Tulane 37-34 in overtime last week in New Orleans and stands 15-3 over its past 18 games.

Sonny Dykes’ squad won its first eight games last season en route to a 10-3 record. Despite this season’s strong start, the coach believes there is plenty of room for progress.

“It just says we’re getting better,” Dykes said of the 5-0 start. “Some things that some guys had to overcome, and you got to give them a lot of credit for doing that. That’s what you want to do, you just want to try to keep improving your program.”

The offense is certainly stellar. The Mustangs rank fourth nationally in total offense (563.2 yards per game) and seventh in scoring (42.6 points per game).

Senior quarterback Shane Buechele has passed for 1,710 yards and 12 touchdowns against two interceptions. The Texas transfer has played in just 18 games at SMU but ranks third in career touchdown passes (46) and eighth in passing yardage (5,639).

Redshirt freshman running back Ulysses Bentley IV also is off to a strong start with 506 rushing yards and eight touchdowns.

The Bearcats will look to slow down the Mustangs’ powerful offense behind a defense that ranks sixth in scoring defense (12.3) and 12th in total defense (306.7). Senior outside linebacker Jarell White (31 tackles) has been a key figure while the unit is tied for fifth nationally with seven interceptions.

The Cincinnati offense is scoring 35.7 points per game, and junior quarterback Desmond Ridder also is moving up the passing-yardage list. Ridder ranks seventh in Bearcats history with 5,206 yards.

This season, Ridder has thrown for 597 yards and six touchdowns against four interceptions.

Slowing down the Bearcats could be a challenge for SMU, which has allowed at least 24 in four of its five games. Sophomore cornerback Brandon Crossley has three interceptions.

Dykes sees the game as a big test that can legitimize his team’s strong start.

“Our guys are excited about the possibility of playing against a very good team and having a measuring stick to see where we are as a program,” Dykes said. “It’s an opportunity to play against one of the best teams in the league and a team that’s highly regarded and I think respected by people across the country, and so I think our guys will be ready to play.”

Cincinnati has won three of the four previous meetings, including a 26-20 overtime win in Dallas in 2018. The teams didn’t meet last season.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Upcoming Games

Aug 28th, 1:00 PM

Nebraska -9.5 -110

Illinois +9.5 -110

@

Aug 28th, 3:30 PM

Hawaii

UCLA

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UCONN

Fresno State

@

Aug 28th, 3:33 PM

UTEP

New Mexico State

@

Aug 28th, 10:00 PM

Southern Utah

San Jose State (24)

@

Sep 1st, 7:30 PM

UAB

Jacksonville State

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Weber State

Utah

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Houston Baptist

New Mexico

@

Sep 2nd, 3:33 PM

Eastern Washington

UNLV

@

Sep 2nd, 6:30 PM

Temple

Rutgers

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

LIU

Florida International (FIU)

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Western Illinois

Ball State (23)

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

The Citadel

Coastal Carolina (14)

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Wagner

Buffalo (25)

@

Sep 2nd, 7:00 PM

Boise State

UCF

@

Sep 2nd, 7:30 PM

USF

NC State

@

Sep 2nd, 7:30 PM

UC Davis

Tulsa

@

Sep 2nd, 7:30 PM

East Carolina

Appalachian State

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Ohio State (2)

Minnesota

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Bowling Green

Tennessee

@

Sep 2nd, 8:00 PM

Tennessee-Martin

WKU

@

Sep 2nd, 10:30 PM

Southern Utah

Arizona State

@

Sep 3rd, 6:00 PM

North Carolina (18) -6 -110

Virginia Tech +6 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

St. Francis-PA

Eastern Michigan

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Old Dominion

Wake Forest

@

Sep 3rd, 7:00 PM

Duke

Charlotte

@

Sep 3rd, 8:00 PM

South Dakota

Kansas

@

Sep 3rd, 9:00 PM

Northern Colorado

Colorado

@

Sep 3rd, 9:00 PM

Michigan State +7.5 -110

Northwestern (10) -7.5 -110

@

Sep 3rd, 9:00 PM

South Dakota State

Colorado State

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Colgate

Boston College

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Louisiana-Monroe

Kentucky

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Army

Georgia State

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Stanford

Kansas State

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Holy Cross

UCONN

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Oklahoma (6)

Tulane

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Western Michigan +17 -110

Michigan -17 -110

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Penn State +4.5 -110

Wisconsin -4.5 -110

@

Sep 4th, 12:00 PM

Fordham

Nebraska

@

Sep 4th, 2:00 PM

Fresno State

Oregon

@

Sep 4th, 2:00 PM

Rice

Arkansas

@

Sep 4th, 3:30 PM

Northern Iowa

Iowa State (9)

@

Sep 4th, 3:30 PM

Alabama (1) -19 -110

Miami-FL (22) +19 -110

@

Sep 4th, 3:30 PM

Miami-OH

Cincinnati (8)

@

Sep 4th, 3:30 PM

Marshall

Navy

@

Sep 4th, 3:30 PM

Indiana (12) +6.5 -110

Iowa (16) -6.5 -110

@

Sep 4th, 3:30 PM

West Virginia

Maryland

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Portland State

Hawaii

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Lafayette

Air Force

@

Sep 4th, 3:33 PM

Montana State

Wyoming

@

Sep 4th, 4:00 PM

Central Michigan

Missouri

@

Sep 4th, 4:00 PM

LA Tech

Mississippi State

@

Sep 4th, 4:00 PM

Massachusetts

Pittsburgh

@

Sep 4th, 4:30 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette (15)

Texas (19)

@

Sep 4th, 5:00 PM

San Jose State (24)

USC (21)

@

Sep 4th, 6:00 PM

Campbell

Liberty (17)

@

Sep 4th, 6:00 PM

Gardner-Webb

Georgia Southern

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Eastern Illinois

South Carolina

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Akron

Auburn

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Southern University

Troy

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Missouri State

Oklahoma State (20)

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Monmouth-New Jersey

Middle Tennessee

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Baylor

Texas State

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Syracuse

Ohio

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Central Arkansas

Arkansas State

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Norfolk State

Toledo

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Texas Tech

Houston

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Nicholls State

Memphis

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Abilene Christian

SMU

@

Sep 4th, 7:00 PM

Oregon State +6 -110

Purdue -6 -110

@

Sep 4th, 7:30 PM

Georgia (7) +3.5 -110

Clemson (3) -3.5 -110

@

Sep 4th, 7:30 PM

Florida Atlantic

Florida (13)

@

Sep 4th, 7:30 PM

NIU

Georgia Tech

@

Sep 4th, 7:30 PM

Northwestern State

North Texas

@

Sep 4th, 7:30 PM

William & Mary

Virginia

@

Sep 4th, 7:30 PM

UTSA +7.5 -110

Illinois -7.5 -110

@

Sep 4th, 8:00 PM

Montana

Washington

@

Sep 4th, 8:00 PM

East Tennessee State

Vanderbilt

@

Sep 4th, 8:00 PM

Kent State

Texas A&M (4)

@

Sep 4th, 8:00 PM

Southern Miss

South Alabama

@

Sep 4th, 8:00 PM

Duquesne

TCU

@

Sep 4th, 8:30 PM

LSU -3.5 -115

UCLA +3.5 -115

@

Sep 4th, 9:00 PM

Bethune-Cookman

UTEP

@

Sep 4th, 10:30 PM

Nevada

California

@

Sep 4th, 10:30 PM

BYU (11)

Arizona

@

Sep 4th, 10:30 PM

New Mexico State

San Diego State

@

Sep 4th, 11:00 PM

Utah State

Washington State

@