Texas A&M-SMU Preview
Looking to open 4-0 for the first time in eight seasons, the sixth-ranked Aggies take on a winless SMU team that will debut a new coach Saturday at Ford Stadium.
Texas A&M climbed one spot in this week's AP poll following a 38-10 rout of Rice last Saturday. Hill threw for 300 yards and four more touchdowns, giving him 11 without an interception in his first season replacing Johnny Manziel under center.
The Aggies' 163 points are their most through three games since scoring 184 in 1917. They managed just seven in the opening quarter against the Owls before breaking out.
"I think we started off slow. We never want to start it off slow," said Hill, whose passer rating of 178.8 ranks 10th in the FBS. "We are going to work on that and fix that and be better next week. We just weren't really clicking and we weren't executing the way that we want to. Like I said we are going to get that fixed and be ready to go."
With 1,094 passing yards, Hill is the first Aggies quarterback to top 1,000 in the first three games. Texas A&M hasn't won its first four since 2006.
Aside from Hill, Garrett also appears to be a star in the making. He's already tied the school record for sacks by a freshman with 5 1/2 and has 15 tackles, including 6 1/2 for loss.
The Aggies have recorded nine sacks after finishing near the bottom of the conference with 21 last year. Garrett leads the SEC in that category after getting 2 1/2 last week.
"Just glad he's on our team, let's put it that way," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "... He's still got a long ways to go, but it's very comforting as a coach to see that you can put people out there who can create pass rush and allow me to be more flexible with what we do coverage-wise."
Garrett will try to wreak havoc on SMU (0-2), which is 0-12-1 in the series dating to 1984. The Aggies have taken the last five matchups, including the past four by an average of 41.0 points, after a 42-13 win last Sept. 21 behind 581 yards of total offense.
SMU could come out with a chip on its shoulder in its first game following the departure of coach June Jones, who stepped down last week due to personal reasons. Defensive coordinator Tom Mason will fill in for the remainder of the year.
"Tom has done a great job with the defense since coming to SMU," Jones told the school's official website. "This being a bye week will give all the coaches and players a chance to evaluate themselves and make the changes needed for their preparation in getting ready for the next couple games and conference play the rest of the way."
The Mustangs have been obliterated in their first two games, falling 45-0 at then-No. 10 Baylor and 43-6 at North Texas on Sept. 6 - Jones resigned two days later. Neal Burcham completed 12 of 22 passes with two interceptions before giving way to redshirt freshman Kolney Cassel, who was 11 of 21 with a 33-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
SMU, which avoided getting shut out in consecutive games for the first time since 1964, has been outgained 927-341 through two games. The Mustangs have given up 506 yards on the ground while rushing for minus-16.
Texas A&M, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, has put up 41.6 points per game in winning 10 straight road contests against unranked opponents. SMU has been limited to an average of 9.8 during a five-game losing streak against Top 25 foes.