"He looked good, no pain," Bennett said. "There's a reason he's our first-team back."
If Martin is practicing, they have known he was going to play all week.
There seems to be some debate about this as some suggest we should be redshirting Martin. I disagree. Completely. If Demyron Martin can play without risking injury, he needs to play. DeMyron Martin is SMU's best back. Against Tulane, SMU had 98 rushing yards on 38 carries; QB Justin Willis accounted for 2/3 of that. SMU has scored only one rushing touchdown with a running back.
I will remind that there are seven games left. Four of those seven are at home. As it stands now, SMU will be favored in three of them (Marshall, UAB and Rice). SMU is 1-0 in conference. After this week, four of the next six will be at home. No matter what happens Saturday, SMU will be no worse than .500. If SMU were 0-5 instead of 3-2, I might agree. However, SMU is absolutely in this thing. Martin is the best back=Martin plays.
Beating UTEP will be hard, even with Martin. UTEP is pretty darn good. UTEP has the 6th ranked passing offense. UTEP's offensive weakness is its running game, while stopping the run is what SMU does best. SMU can completely take away their running game and they won't notice.
The key to beating UTEP, as I see it, is to get consistent pressure on Palmer. The interesting thing about Palmer is he forces things. Palmer is rarely sacked, which is odd for a guy considered a pocket passer. He'll throw into coverage to avoid a sack.
New Mexico got good pressure on Palmer for five sacks. Interestingly, Palmer had no interceptions in that game. Reminder, New Mexico won that game.
So, the trick is to get to Palmer without leaving our secondary to hang in the wind. In short, SMU faces a nearly identical problem to the one it faced against Texas Tech. Frankly, our secondary stands a good chance of being exposed.
With or without Martin, SMU will be able run on UTEP pretty easily. I predict they will give up more running yards to SMU than they any of their four previous games. In order to win, SMU will have to grind out yards on the ground and eat up time on the clock. It can be done, but it will be hard.