- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

No. 11 Houston (6-1, 3-1 American) at SMU (2-4, 0-2), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Line: Houston by 21.

Series Record: Houston leads 20-10-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Houston needs to re-establish its dominance from a 5-0 start following a loss to Navy and a narrow win at home against Tulsa, which couldn’t convert from the 1-yard line in the closing seconds of the Cougars’ 38-31 win. SMU wants to be competitive start to finish as a double-digit underdog against a high-scoring Texas team after fading in the second half of losses to Baylor and TCU.

KEY MATCHUP

Houston QB Greg Ward Jr. vs. SMU’s secondary. Ward is ninth nationally at 323 yards passing per game with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. SMU is the only FBS team with three players with at least three interceptions. Jordan Wyatt and Horace Richardson have four apiece, and Darrion Millines has three. The Mustangs are second nationally with 13 interceptions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Houston: WR Linell Bonner has 100-yard games three of the past five outings, and just missed a fourth with 97 yards on 13 catches last week against Tulsa. Bonner is eighth nationally with 55 catches and also leads the team with 653 yards.

SMU: In a 43-40 overtime loss to Tulsa two weeks ago, redshirt freshman QB Ben Hicks went without an interception for the first time since taking over as the starter for the injured Matt Davis. He was 29 of 52 with career highs of 258 yards and two touchdowns. He threw nine picks in his first four starts.

FACTS & FIGURES

Since returning from the so-called death penalty in 1989, SMU is 3-15-1 against Houston. The first game was a 95-21 loss. … Houston’s six-game streak with at least 35 points is the fourth-longest active streak. … SMU is tied for fourth nationally with 15 takeaways after forcing just 10 turnovers all of last season. … Houston’s current streak of 16 straight weeks in the Top 25 is the longest since a school-record run of 42 weeks from 1988-91. … SMU WR Courtland Sutton is averaging 98.3 yards per game and 19.7 yards per catch. The latter ranks fifth nationally among players with at least 30 grabs.

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AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org

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