Turnovers have been a huge problem for SMU this year.
The Mustangs are minus-13 in turnover margin, the worst among 120 FBS schools. SMU has lost 17 interceptions and nine fumbles and has only gained four interceptions and nine fumbles. Quarterback J.J. McDermott has an interception-to-touchdown ratio of 14:15, 2:9 in the last four losses.
The Mustangs work on turnovers every week, but nothing has clicked on that front in the past two seasons (SMU was minus-12 in 2010).
"We're focusing on them but for some reason, we're just not getting them," coach June Jones said. "It's hard to figure. Next year we'll probably get them plentiful. We're just on the wrong side of it.
"Some of it comes from guys playing with confidence on defense. The first guy tackles, the second guy is trying to get the football. We're just at a point where we're not playing that way to take the football away. We're happy with just tackling the guy."
Defensive coordinator Tom Mason admitted that forcing turnovers is a hard thing to coach.
"Takeaways are an interesting thing. Can you create them? I don't know," he said. "We do everything, probably more than anyone in the country, to try to create takeaways. It's just one of those years.
"I'm disappointed we haven't intercepted the ball more, but the way we play our coverages, we don't get a lot of interceptions. We're more matched-type coverages."
Mason did recall a few plays where he thought his guys should have made a play to get an interception, like when Chris Banjo nearly picked off Case Keenum in the second quarter of last weekend's game. The receiver ran a post-route inside the 5-yard-line and Banjo tipped the ball, but it fell incomplete.
"It's frustrating," Mason said. "But next year we'll probably have 40…that's the way it goes."
For more SMU coverage, follow Laken Litman on Twitter!