College Football
Southern Methodist at Houston
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 8, 2015
Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston, Texas

The game plan likely will be the same for both defenses when SMU visits undefeated Houston on Thursday. The offenses of these in-state American Athletic Conference rivals revolve around dual-threat quarterbacks - SMU's Matt Davis and Houston's Greg Ward, Jr.

"We have to stop the quarterback," Houston first-year coach Tom Herman told the media Monday. "We have to get pressure on him because he is a good-enough thrower (that) if you let him stand back there, (he can) beat you with his arm. We have to contain him." Davis leads the Mustangs with 380 yards and six touchdowns, and hasn't thrown an interception in 123 passing attempts. Ward has been more impressive and is gaining national attention after rushing for three scores last week. Ward is the only player in the nation averaging more than 200 passing yards (264.5) and 100 rushing (118) and is ranked fifth in the country in total offense.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Houston -25

ABOUT SMU (1-4, 0-1 AAC): Davis (1,182 yards, eight TDs, two interceptions) has several young, talented receivers to which to throw, including Courtland Sutton (21 catches, 450 yards, five TDs). The Mustangs, who have lost three straight after allowing 42 unanswered points to East Carolina, have given up the most sacks in FBS (21). The defense is allowing the most yards in the country (593.4) and is ranked 124th out of 128 teams in scoring defense (44.4).

ABOUT HOUSTON (4-0, 1-0): The Cougars are ranked fourth nationally in total offense (602.5) behind Ward and running back Kenneth Farrow (385 yards, two TDs). Linebacker Steven Taylor leads the AAC with five sacks after recording three against Tulsa. The Cougars, who have won eight of their last nine meetings with SMU, are allowing 23.2 points while recording 13 sacks and 11 turnovers.


1. The Cougars are the only team in the nation ranked in the top 10 in both rushing defense (eighth, 82 yards) and rushing offense (seventh, 382.5).

2. Half of SMU's 20 TD drives have taken less than two minutes, putting the Mustangs in a tie with Texas Tech (17-of-34) for ninth in the nation.

3. Houston will hold tryouts this week after K Kyle Bullard missed two field goals in Saturday's win against Tulsa and fell to 5-of-9 on the season.

PREDICTION: Houston 46, SMU 20

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Southern Methodist 1-4 L3 31.4 44.4 1-3 0-1 0-1 0-0 0-1
Houston 4-0 W4 45.8 23.2 2-0 2-0 0-0 2-0 1-0
Last Meeting
Southern Methodist Houston
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/28/14 HOU 35 SMU 9 223 78 145 433 282 151
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Southern Methodist M. Davis 48.1 145 1 0
Houston G. Ward Jr. 60.7 144 0 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist M. Davis 20 70 3.5 0
Houston K. Farrow 18 110 6.1 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist J. Gaines 2 76 38.0 1
Houston M. Ambles 3 41 13.7 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Southern Methodist J. Gaines 1
Houston G. Ward Jr. 3
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Southern Methodist M. Davis 60.0 1178 8 2
Houston G. Ward Jr. 69.2 1058 8 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist M. Davis 88 380 4.3 6
Houston G. Ward Jr. 64 478 7.5 7
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Southern Methodist C. Sutton 21 450 21.4 5
Houston D. Ayers 32 377 11.8 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Southern Methodist M. Davis 6
Houston G. Ward Jr. 7
Quickchart Matchup
Southern Methodist Southern Methodist Off vs  Houston Houston Def
Southern Methodist 428.8 yards
Houston 398.2 yards
Southern Methodist 4 yards/rush
Houston 2.4 yards/rush
Southern Methodist 8.3 yards/attempt
Houston 7.6 yards/attempt
Houston Houston Off vs  Southern Methodist Southern Methodist Def
Houston 604 yards
Southern Methodist 593.4 yards
Houston 5.8 yards/rush
Southern Methodist 6.6 yards/rush
Houston 8.8 yards/attempt
Southern Methodist 10 yards/attempt