Blog Recap: SMU 31, Montana State 30

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1st Quarter Defensive Breakdown

SMU's defense started with a bang as Stephon Sanders recorded a safety on the defense's first play to give SMU a 2-0 lead. SMU then forced a quick three and out on the Bobcats second drive, but things quickly fell apart in the third drive. Shawn Johnson ran for a first down on the first play of the drive, and after forcing third and long, the Mustangs gave up a big pass that eventually lead to a touchdown and two-point conversion. SMU had been putting great pressure on McGhee but the senior didn't let it faze him. Overall, pass coverage was good for the quarter but the run defense needs work heading into the second.

First Quarter Offense Blog

Quarterback Garret Gilbert looked sharp in throwing the ball on mostly short underneath passes, until he tried to scamper into the end zone, and fumble on the 2-yard line. SMU was extremely ineffective in the red zone against Texas Tech, and the trend continued in the first quarter today. Freshman wide receiver JaBryce Taylor has looked very good so far, taking the opening kickoff 40 yards, and on a crucial third down on a wide receiver reverse, gained 27 yards. The run game continues to struggle, with Prescott Line getting all the carries in the first quarter, and essentially no production. Penalties are hurting the Mustangs. After a fourth down run that Gilbert would have converted, Sam Rice was called for a holding, forcing SMU to punt.

Score: 8-5

2nd Quarter Defensive Breakdown

The SMU defense committed two crucial pass interferences and could not stop a Montana State touchdown drive to start the second quarter. The Mustangs almost held the Bobcats to a field goal before another penalty lead to a Johnson touchdown run. The Bobcats offense seemed prepared for every Mustang defensive play. When they blitzed, Johnson or Kirk would quickly escape the backfield for an easy conversion. SMU was only able to stop the Bobcats on their third drive of the quarter when Montana State committed an illegal block below the waist and on the fourth drive when it was clear that Montana State was happy to go into the half with a ten point lead. Mason needs to make serious adjustments at the half or SMU will be in trouble.

2nd Quarter Offensive Blog

Not a good quarter for the Mustangs on the offensive side of the ball. Again, drives being stalled by holding calls. The blame cannot be put on quarterback Garret Gilbert, who is a one-man show right now. Absolutely no production from Prescott Line at the running back position, and his receivers have not helped him out at all, dropping well-thrown passes that should be completions. On the third drive of the quarter, down 22-5, the SMU offense finally moved the ball down the field, and not surprisingly did it when Prescott Line provided balance running the ball. The drive was capped off with a K.C. Nlemchi drive, who, much to the happiness of Mustang fans, finally got a shot at carrying the ball, and on his first carry of his career, shed off two tackles and dove into the end zone.

Score at half: 22-19

3rd Quarter Defensive Breakdown

The Mustangs came out in the third quarter and again proved that they have no answer for the Montana State attack. The Bobcats marched 75 yards in 5:32 to open the second half with another Kirk touchdown. On the second Montana State drive of the quarter, SMU was able to pull off a stop after Montana State ate up a lot of clock. Burning time was a major theme for Montana State in the third quarter, and SMU had a lot of trouble forcing quick Bobcat drives. Cody Kirk continues to plague the SMU defense as the Mustangs have no answer for the Bobcat's running attack.

3rd Quarter Offensive Blog

SMU continued to struggle in the red zone in the third quarter. With their first drive of the second half, after a long pass to Darius Joseph followed by an impressive run by Nlemchi to get SMU just inside the 25 yard line, the offense failed to get any further, and were forced to settle for a field goal. On the second drive of the quarter, Gilbert found Jeremy Johnson on third down over the middle on a beautiful pass for 66 yards, but yet again, once in the red zone, SMU failed to convert, as Keenan Holeman caught a pass that would have been a first down, only to have it stripped from his hands and recovered by Montana State. Two possessions in the third quarter, both found the red zone, yet only came away with three points, the story of the season so far.

Score: 30-22

4th Quarter Blog

The Mustangs struggle for the first part of the final quarter but came up big when it mattered most. Taking over down five with 3:46 left in the game, Gilbert surgically ripped apart the Montana State defense, and traveled 81 yards to win the game. The offense played pretty well the entire game, but stalled in the red zone. Had they played better when in the red zone, this game would have been a much more comfortable win. But when it mattered most, Gilbert and the rest of the offense came up big and won the game. K.C. Nlemchi helped out on the ground, picking up a huge first down on a short range 3rd down.

Final Score- 31-30 SMU

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