The defense played incredibly well against TCU and was the only reason the score was close. Time and time again, the SMU defense would make major stops and forcing TCU to punt seven times. The Mustang defense held TCU to just over 150 yards of total offense and continuously pressured Casey Pachall. The defense did not allow any of the big time plays that plagued them in the beginning of the season and did a great job of swarming to the football and playing as a unit. SMU forced TCU to become one dimensional holding the Horned Frogs to just over three yards per carry. The SMU secondary also played very well holding the TCU's playmaking receivers to fewer than 10 catches combined with only one of them reaching the 40-yard mark.
Taylor Reed had a monster game. Granted, he cost SMU when he got himself a personal foul penalty at the beginning of the game, however he proceeded to be a beast in the middle of the defense. Reed raced from sideline to sideline crushing TCU rushers and shot out of a cannon for a sack on Casey Pachall at a crucial moment in the game. Reed finished with 14 total tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss, showing why he is one of the leaders of the defense. Reed must learn to channel his emotion because he could have been called for another penalty after throwing a fit when he got taken out of the game, but he showed today why he is one of the best linebackers in the conference.
Punt Coverage and Kickoff Return
The weather allowed for SMU to take advantage of some key mishaps by the TCU punt team. On two separate occasions, the SMU special teams gave their offense great field position after the TCU punter could not handle the snap. One of those times put SMU all the way on the TCU 1-yard line. In another special teams incident, TCU lined up to kick a field goal and the holder failed to get the ball down. The SMU special teams unit, like they're supposed to, dropped him immediately. Cole Loftin did a very nice job returning kicks against TCU after he was supposed to lose the job to freshman Horace Richardson. Loftin did a nice job of following his blocks and running north and south and had an impressive 45-yard kick return. Loftin also had a nice catch and run on third and thirteen to keep a drive alive in the second quarter, which eventually led to SMU's first touchdown.
Although Garret Gilbert can't be completely blamed for SMU's lack of offense this game, he was a big part of it. Gilbert made some very poor decisions this game, just trying to make plays when they weren't there, and he didn't make enough plays when he had to. On one of Gilbert's five interceptions, he threw a poor ball to Der'rikk Thompson in double coverage, who had no shot of coming down with the ball. On second and goal from the TCU three-yard line, Gilbert took a sack and caused a third and goal from the nine. Gilbert also took a sack in the Mustangs' last possession which was detrimental being that SMU had no timeouts left. Gilbert finished the game going 15-for-40 for 190 yards and was sacked four times, however, it must be noted that he had no help from the running game or his wide receivers, but I will address that in the following paragraphs.
For all of the Pony Stampede subscribers that follow the practice reports, you have seen the staff write about the SMU receivers and their propensity to drop passes. Well if the receivers dropped passes when the weather was sunny, it didn't take a statistician to predict that they would drop passes in this game and boy did they drop them. The wide receivers dropped eight passes in the first half alone and many of the balls were on the money. The thing that makes it evident that the weather played a part in the dropped balls however was the fact that Darius Johnson, who doesn't drop passes in practice, dropped a couple of balls too even though he isn't having a very good season thus far. In any event, as Coach June Jones said in the postgame press conference, the receivers needed to make plays and they didn't. That's the bottom line.
One could probably count on one hand the amount of times that Garret Gilbert was comfortable in the pocket against TCU. As mentioned earlier, he was sacked four times and he was habitually hurried, hit and harassed in the pocket. The offensive line had a very hard time protecting Gilbert and had an even tougher time opening up holes for Zach Line who had 14 rushes for 28 yards if you don't include his 21-yard touchdown. TCU freshman defensive end Devonte Fields absolutely dominated against the SMU offense racking up seven tackles, four tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.
Three Up, Three Down
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