The SMU Mustangs and Pittsburgh Panthers square off in this year’s version of the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Alabama.
The all-time series between these two teams sits at 2-2-1, but the last meeting was clear back in the 1983 Cotton Bowl (a 7-3 SMU win).
Our latest Compass Bowl odds show Pittsburgh favored by 3.5 points, while the over/under is listed at 47 points.
SMU started hot at 5-1 this season, but lost four of their next five games before finishing off the season with a win over Rice in their final regular season game. The Mustangs finished 3rd in Conference USA (5-3), but were just 2-4 in all road games this season, including a current three-game road losing streak.
SMU ranks 54th in the nation in defensive scoring (24 points per game) and allow 351 yards per game (224 passing, 127 rushing) while recording 27 sacks and forcing 14 turnovers two of which were converted to touchdowns (Chris Parks and Ja’Gared Davis, fumbles).
Taylor Reed leads the unit with 93 tackles (16 more than anyone else), while Taylor Thompson has seven sacks and six forced fumbles. Davis and Richard Crawford each have two interceptions and Margus Hunt has four blocked kicks.
SMU ranks 71st nationally in scoring offense (26 ppg) while compiling 396 yards per game (278 passing, 118 rushing).
J.J. McDermott has completed 59 percent of his passes for 3,182 yards with 16 touchdowns with 16 interceptions, while the offensive line allows 27 sacks. Cole Beasley (79 receptions) and Darius Johnson (72) leads the receiving crops with 151 combined catches for 1,952 yards and nine TDs, while Zach Line anchors the running game with 1,224 yards and 17 TDs on 5.9 yards per carry.
The Panthers alternated wins and losses the last six games of the season, won their season finale over Syracuse, then lost their head coach (Todd Graham) to Arizona State. Pittsburgh tied for fourth in the Big East (4-3), a game behind the three co-champions. Pittsburgh was 1-3 away from home, with a win at Louisville and two of the losses by a combined five points (at West Virginia, at Iowa).
Defensively, Pittsburgh ranks 33rd nationally in points allowed (22 ppg) and gives up 355 yards per game (233 passing, 122 rushing) while recording 39 sacks and forcing 20 turnovers one of which was returned for a TD (Antwaun Reed, fumble).
Max Gruder leads this unit with 107 tackles (43 more than anyone else), while Aaron Donald has 10 sacks and Brandon Lindsey has 8.5. K’Waun Williams has posted three forced fumbles.
On offense, Pittsburgh ranks 70th nationally in scoring (26 ppg) while recording 362 yards per game (211 passing, 151 rushing).
Tino Sunseri has completed 64 percent of his passes for 2,433 yards and 10 TDs with 10 interceptions, while the offensive line has allowed 56 sacks. Devin Street leads the receiving corps with 48 receptions (13 more than anyone else) for 692 yards and two TDs, while Ray Graham has needed just eight games to lead the team in rushing with 958 yards and nine scores on 5.9 yards per carry and Zach Brown adds 336 yards and five scores on 4.1 yards per attempt.