1. 1st Quarter Defense
SMU's defense really showed up in the beginning of the game and put a lot of pressure on quarterback Johnny Manziel. The defense had two sacks and held Texas A&M to just 12 yards rushing most of which came from Manziel being forced out of the pocket. The secondary gave up a couple of long passes to A&M wide receiver Mike Evans but other than that they kept the A&M offense in check and caused them to go into the 2nd quarter scoreless.
2. 1st and 2nd Down Offense
SMU did a very nice job of putting themselves in favorable third down situations this game. Nine of their 18 attempts on third downs were five yards or less. Of the nine third downs that were five yards or less SMU only converted two, both coming late in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand. If SMU converts on some of these third and shorts, it's a different game.
3. Margus Making Some Noise
Up until this game Margus Hunt hasn't lived up to the preseason hype. Hunt didn't play much against SFA and was a non-factor against Baylor in week one. Hunt had a decent game against the Aggies tallying a seven-yard sack, a seven-yard tackle for loss, and a blocked extra-point attempt. Hunt continually received double teams and still managed to get pressure on Manziel primarily in the first quarter of the game. This was a performance that he can hopefully build on.
1. Stopping Manziel
SMU had a very hard time trying to contain freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel who settled in very nicely after the first quarter. Manziel punished SMU's defense through the air and on the ground putting up 418 total yards, six touchdowns and no turnovers. Manziel made great decisions, continuously eluded would-be tacklers and kept his eyes down field when scrambling out of the pocket. On one specific play, Taylor Reed came in on an inside linebacker blitz and nearly sacked Manziel, who spun out of the tackle and threw a perfect 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Kenric McNeal with Ja'Gared Davis in his face. Manziel also utterly embarrassed the SMU defense on a 15 yard touchdown run, where it seemed like everyone in red had on cement boots.
2. Offensive Play
The offense did not look in-sync at all today starting with the play of Garret Gilbert. Gilbert finished the day with just over 200 yards passing, an interception, and was sacked four times. Gilbert left many throws on the field including a wide open Darius Johnson, whom he over threw, and a wide open Der'rikk Thompson in the middle of the end zone that Gilbert just completely missed. The offensive line looked like they were overwhelmed and opened up no lanes for Zach Line who had seven rushes for 31 yards by halftime with 16 of those yards coming on one run. Line finished the game with a good stat line but got most of his yards on single play big gains towards the end of the game and was not consistent throughout the day. The receivers did not look like they had great chemistry with Gilbert and Darius Johnson just isn't looking like the same receiver from last year. He dropped a couple of passes that weren't perfect but definitely catchable. Jeremy Johnson was completely non-existent this game making just one reception for five yards. It seems that Gehrig Dieter is getting more and more playing time which could be a good thing because he's catching the ball when it comes his way.
3. Giving Up Big Plays
The SMU defense has given up way too many big plays this year. The defense gave up seven yards a play to the aggies and 14 yards per completion. Mike Evans had a 38 yard catch, Ryan Swope had a 29 yard touchdown catch, Manziel had a 48 yard touchdown run, Nwachukwu had a 26 yard touchdown grab and McNeal had a 42 yard touchdown pass. SMU's secondary has not played well and SMU's defense as a whole has had trouble making tackles. The defense does deserve some credit however, because for them to shutout the A&M offense in the first quarter and not see any points be put on the scoreboard by the offense is discouraging. In addition, there were a lot of guys nicked up i.e. Chris Parks, Taylor Reed, Ja'Gared Davis, Cameron Rogers, and Kevin Pope. However, it looks like the most crucial injury came during fall camp. This team sure could use James Richardson.
Three Up, Three Down
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