1. Offensive Line Play
The offensive line played surprisingly well against Baylor minus a couple of balls batted down at the line and a couple of blitz packages. For the majority of the game, Garret Gilbert had plenty of time to not only make throws but go through his progressions. A few times, especially later on in the game, Gilbert had enough time to make his reads down the field and see that his options were covered and toss the ball out to Zach Line in the flats. The offensive line also created some holes for Line to run through. In terms of evaluating a unit, the offensive line played the best out of everyone.
2. Zach Line
Zach Line is now tied for second in SMU history with Craig James and Reggie Dupard for career 100-yard games. Line never quit and ran with intensity as he broke tackle after tackle against Baylor. Line finished the game with 25 carries for 137 yards along with a career high 5 catches for 21 yards. Line had an outstanding 33 yard carry where he used incredible strength to run through a tackle on the sideline. The play ignited the crowd even though SMU was down by 42 points and the very next play Garret Gilbert threw a 42-yard touchdown to Der'rikk Thompson for the Mustangs' first touchdown of the game. Line put the team on his back and showed true grit every chance that he got to touch the ball. He was the brightest spot on the team especially because the last time he was on the field he left with a foot injury and was out for the rest of the season.
3. Dieter and the Johnsons
Gehrig Dieter came in and wowed people. The true freshman came down with some great catches late in the game; one that set up the touchdown to Jeremy Johnson and the other was his own 40-yard touchdown that he came down with in the end zone. After the game June Jones said that Dieter has been doing that in practice as well; "catching balls and making plays." Both Jeremy Johnson and Darius Johnson had nice games. Both of them caught nine passes and were the most consistent targets for Garret Gilbert. Johnson caught a number of passes for third down conversions which SMU did fairly well on going 12-for-20 and Jeremy Johnson had some great catches including a 23 yarder in the first quarter.
1. Red Zone Efficiency
SMU squandered many opportunities to put the ball in the end zone by making costly mistakes. In the second quarter Keenan Holman dropped what should have been a touchdown when he let a dart by Gilbert go right through his hands. Instead of seven points they were forced to settle for three. Another great second quarter drive by the Mustangs, which started at their own 18 and got down to the Baylor 9-yard line, ended in an interception caused by another dropped pass by Darius Johnson. Granted, he might not have been fully aware of the pass, he was still open and the ball hit him square in the chest. This was a turning point in the game because Baylor capitalized on this interception by scoring a touchdown making the score 21-3 instead of 14-10.
Penalties single handedly killed SMU. On the first two drives SMU had five penalties for 37 yards, three of which were personal fouls. The detrimental part about the penalties was the fact that they came when the defense had gotten stops and without them Baylor would have been forced to punt. The first penalty, roughing the passer, came on a 3rd and 16, which would have resulted in a fourth down because Florence's pass was incomplete to Reese. The next two penalties were back-to-back offsides penalties on a 3rd and 10 and subsequent 3rd and 5. If the SMU defense gets Baylor's offense off the field without scoring SMU could have maybe taken an early lead but instead had to play from behind.
3. Defensive Play
The defense got a couple of stops and should have had more but as the game went on looked more and more abominable especially in the secondary. Chris Parks got outplayed the entire game, and Baylor continued to take shots at him. Parks however, wasn't the only one to blame. Cameron Rogers got burned across the middle and was taken out of the game on passing plays because of it. Four different Baylor receivers caught passes of 30 yards or more. It seemed as though the secondary was confused because there were so many gaping holes in the defense. The run defense didn't look much better for the Mustangs either. Each of Baylor's ball carriers averaged five yards or more per carry. SMU's front seven was looked at as a bright spot on the team coming into the game but failed to produce a sack or takeaway against a mediocre Baylor offensive line.
Three Up, Three Down
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