Can SMU Cover the Spread Against Tulane Without Their Quarterback Preston Stone?

Written by:
Tony Caliente
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Tulane comes in as a -3 favorite in their AAC Championship Game against SMU on Saturday in New Orleans.  We have the Mustangs -4.75 but that doesn't calculate the absence of quarterback Preston Stone, who sustained a season-ending broken fibula in a 59-14 home victory against Navy last Saturday.    There is still plenty of wiggle room to cover.


Head coach Rhett Lashlee described redshirt freshman Kevin Jennings as a starting quality backup who will replace Stone on Saturday.

"There probably aren't a lot of teams if they lost their starting quarterback could feel as good as we do," Lashlee said. "We've got a guy who's played a lot of football, who won a (high school) state championship just two years ago playing in AT&T Stadium.

"There's not an environment that's going to bother him. He's the same guy every day. He's been that way ever since he got here. He's super talented. He can throw it, he can run it."

The Mustangs deserve more respect heading into this matchup, as their 2023 success shouldn't be overlooked just because their QB is out, writes Michael Briggs of Winners and Whiners.

"SMU's elite secondary (15th in passing yards allowed) and pass rush (40 sacks) will be x-factors, as Tulane relies heavily on its passing attack. The Mustangs are ranked in the top 20 nationally in pressure rate, Havoc, and sack percentage. The secondary surrendered just 6.0 yards per passing completion, as well. Green Wave QB Pratt had a superb season (21 TDs and four INTs), but he's also been inconsistent and is coming off one of his worst performances (9-for-22 passing).

"Tulane's passing attack could be without two of its main receiving threats, as Lawrence Keys III and Jha'Quan Jackson are questionable to play. The pass-catching duo combined for 57 receptions, 1,020 receiving yards, and 11 TDs, so if they can't play or are limited by injuries, the Green Wave will be hampered.

Tulane also does not run the ball effectively, Briggs notes.

- Tony Caliente,

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