NEW ORLEANS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — We all know the history of the SMU football program… the death penalty… the losing seasons, but the 2020 Mustangs aren’t looking back — they’re looking forward and the next team they need to conquer to maintain their unbeaten record is Tulane.

The football series between No. 17 SMU and Tulane could not be more evenly matched, with each winning 13 times since they first played in 1943.

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Recently, however, not so much.

SMU (4-0, 1-0 AAC) has won the last five meetings and is favored to make it six when the Mustangs visit Tulane (2-2, 0-2) on Friday night.

Third-year head coach Sonny Dykes has SMU off to another hot start to the season after opening the 2019 season 8-0.

A win for SMU would mark the first time since 1983 that the Mustangs have started consecutive seasons 5-0.

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“It’s going to be challenging, but we’re in a good position,” Dykes said. “It’s like I’ve said all along really since I got here. Our job is to compete for conference championships. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to win them. We’re here to compete for them year in, year out. I think that’s the standard for our program. It should be the standard for our program.”

Coming off of an off week, Southern Methodist defeated Memphis 30-27 back on Oct. 3 behind a career-high 474 yards passing from quarterback Shane Buechele. But that victory came at a price. Top receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. injured his knee and starting running back TJ McDaniel injured his ankle. This week, Dykes announced that both were lost for the season.

But the fourth-ranked offense in the country still has Buechele, who entered the week ranked second in yards passing with 1,326 and fifth in touchdowns passing with 10.

Tulane is trying to bounce back from a 49-31 loss on the road against Houston. The Green Wave has struggled in league play, having lost seven of its last eight contests.

“We are going to have to play extremely well all four quarters, because everybody in this league is good,” Fritz said.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)