No. 21 Tulane hosts nemesis SMU with AAC hopes at stake

SMU (6-4, 4-2 AAC) at No. 21 Tulane (8-2, 5-1, No. 21 CFP), Thursday, 7:30 p.m., EST (ESPN)

FANDUEL SPORTSBOOK COLLEGE LINE: Tulane by 3

Series record: SMU leads 15-13.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Tulane can assure itself a spot in the American Athletic Conference title game, climb back up the rankings and improve its bowl game credentials by winning its final two games. SMU is just a game behind UCF, Tulane and Cincinnati in the AAC standings and can climb back into contention for a conference title game berth by winning out and getting a little help.

KEY MATCHUP

SMU RB tandem Camar Wheaton and Tyler Lavine against a Tulane run defense led by linebackers Nick Anderson and Dorian Williams, and which ranks among the AAC’s best. Wheaton and Lavine each rushed for 112 yards last week, with Wheaton scoring twice.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

SMU: WR Jordan Kerley had 156 yards and a TD in a victory over South Florida last week.

Tulane: Tyjae Spears rushed for 130 yards in last week’s loss to first-place UCF.

FACTS & FIGURES

SMU has defeated Tulane seven straight times since 2015. … SMU won 37-34 in OT the last time these teams met in New Orleans in 2020. … SMU QB and Davey O’Brien Award semifinalist Tanner Mordecai has passed for 2,780 yards (308.9 per game) and 27 TDs vs. seven INTs. … SMU WR Rashee Rice leads the nation in yards receiving with 1,167. … SMU has had 17 players score TDs this season. … Tulane is bowl eligible for the fourth time in five seasons under coach Willie Fritz and has quadrupled its 2021 victory total, having gone 2-11 a season ago. … Tulane QB Michael Pratt has passed for 2,079 yards (231 per game) and 17 TDs vs. 4 INTs. … Tulane WR Duece Watts has six TD catches. … Tulane’s Williams has four sacks.

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