1. Garret Gilbert – Gilbert didn't look like the best quarterback SMU has ever seen by any means, but he still put together a very good solid game. He didn't make any terrible decisions, he didn't turn the ball over and he created plays with his feet. He showed the ability to make difficult throws and though he missed some, most of them were because he was under pressure for the entire game. Gilbert led the offense well, and that is what you want to see from your starting quarterback.
2. Run Defense- The SMU run defense was stout all night though they weren't tested very much at all. Texas Tech, known for their attack through the air, only rushed a handful of times and all of their rushers averaged under two yards a carry. The linebackers and defensive line both did a great job of getting penetration in the Texas Tech backfield and caused several tackles for loss and no gains. The defense forced Texas Tech to be one dimensional.
3. Punting and Kicking- It pains me to mention Mike Loftus and Chase Hover in my three up but looking at the full effort of the team, they were two of the brightest spots. Loftus had a number of booming punts including a 58 yarder. He pinned the Red Raiders within their 20 yard line several times and also had a few touchbacks. Kicker Chase Hover did miss a chip shot field goal in the third quarter but he made his first three – one of which was a 51 yarder to end the first half.
1. Pass Defense – It was one of the keys to the game and SMU simply didn't do enough. At times the defensive line did well and ended up sacking Baker Mayfield four times but most of the time, they were insignificant. On the other hand, they didn't get much help from the back end. The SMU secondary was not aggressive at all. They made no plays on the ball and waited for the Tech receivers to come to them instead of imposing their will. Time and time again the cornerbacks would sit back and watch Mayfield throw a wide receiver screen to the outside for 8-10 yards if not more. Another thing the cornerbacks did a poor job of was getting off blocks. A veteran defensive backfield allowed 413 yards and four touchdowns through the air. That's just unacceptable.
2. Run Game – The SMU run game was non-existent against Texas Tech. Many people thought that Traylon Shead would be a big part of the SMU game plan, but he was used minimally throughout the game up to the point where he left with a leg injury. After Shead went down, SMU runs were few and far between. The only person who did run the ball well was Garret Gilbert, who ran for more yards than all the running backs combined.
3. O-Line – The offensive line was way too inconsistent. Gilbert was sacked five times and hit way more than that. He was under heavy pressure just about the entire night, having to escape the rush first just to be able to get the ball off. There were a few bright moments where the line gave Gilbert time to throw, but it was rare that Gilbert could set his feet and throw the football without fleeing the pocket. The rush blocking was even worse than the pass blocking. When Shead and Line did get the ball, they were swallowed up at the line of scrimmage.
3 Up, 3 Down
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