East Carolina head coach Mike Houston watches from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Cincinnati in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)
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DALLAS (AP) — East Carolina (3-6, 0-5 AAC) at No. 23 SMU (8-1, 4-1), Saturday at 12 p.m. EST (ESPNU).

Line: SMU by 21.

Series record: East Carolina leads 4-3.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

SMU looks to bounce back from its first loss of the season, and stay in contention for the American Athletic Conference West Division title. The Mustangs still have to play at No. 25 Navy, whose only loss is to No. 19 Memphis, the team that beat SMU last weekend. All three have only one loss. The Pirates are still looking for their first conference win for first-year coach Mike Houston. They led No. 17 Cincinnati by 12 points with less than nine minutes left last Saturday, but lost 46-43 on a game-ending field goal.

KEY MATCHUP

East Carolina's young passing game against SMU's secondary. Pirates sophomore QB Holton Ahlers threw for a school-record 535 yards and four TDs against Cincinnati, and ECU had two 100-yard receivers — freshman C.J. Johnson set a conference record with 283 yards receiving on 12 catches, and sophomore Blake Proehl had eight catches for 105 yards. The Mustangs are 11th in the AAC, allowing 280.8 yards passing per game, and a league-high 24 TDs. They gave up 350 yards passing to Memphis, which had two 130-yard receivers.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

East Carolina: DL Kendall Futrell has eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss in the past six games.

SMU: WR James Proche leads the AAC with 72 receptions, his 8.2 per game are more than two more a game than the next-closest receiver. With 100-yard-per-game receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. still dealing with a foot injury, freshman Rashee Rice had seven catches for 122 yards against Memphis.

FACTS & FIGURES

SMU has seven 40-point games this season, a program record. ... East Carolina has eight defenders with at least 40 tackles, led by linebacker Xavier Smith's 62. ... The Mustangs' 40 sacks are two short of the school record set in 1981. ... SMU QB Shane Buechele has multiple TD passes in each of the last eight games.

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