Blog Recap: SMU Tops Temple

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1st Q Offensive Blog

After a slow start thanks to Traylon Shead's fumble during the first series, the SMU offense picked things up on their second time around, scoring easily on an 11-yard run by Shead.

The Mustangs offense looked very balanced and had almost no trouble marching down the field for the score on their second drive; however, the offense stalled on their third drive and was forced to punt while in Temple's territory.

Besides their touchdown drive, the Mustangs struggled some to move the ball and could not convert on third down, going 0-3 in the fist quarter.

1st Q Defensive Blog

As good as the SMU defense looked on the first Temple drive of the game, it quickly unraveled after the Owls got the ball back a second and third time. After a turnover by Shead at midfield to start the game, Randall Joyner and Robert Seals made a big stop on 4th and short to get the Mustangs the ball back without allowing a Temple first down.

The second drive, SMU was picked apart. Temple started at their own 23-yardline but quickly made their way down the field for the score. It looked like a hold on the offense on the touchdown play, but the refs missed it and it didn't look like it would have mattered anyway. The way the SMU defense played on that drive, a Temple touchdown seemed like an inevitability. Temple exploited one of SMU's biggest defensive weaknesses on the play, screen passes to receivers in the flats. It's pretty amazing that this far into the season SMU still cannot guard this simple play.

The third drive was a quick and complete disaster for SMU. Temple's Robby Anderson somehow slipped past the SMU secondary on a trick play and caught an 83-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the drive. There was so much space between Anderson and the fooled SMU defense that he was able to stop and come back to catch the ball before running for the touchdown without a single SMU player catching up to him.

Temple kept their momentum going on their next drive, ending it at the SMU 31 before the end of the quarter. P.J. Walker is having a lot of success against the Mustangs today.

2nd Q Offensive Blog

SMU's defense saw most of the playing time in the second quarter, but when the Mustangs' offense was on the field, they didn't have much going for them. Early on, the Mustangs fumbled two more times and killed any chance of them sustaining a meaningful drive.

With Shead out, SMU stayed away from running the ball and the passing game was non-existent until the Mustangs' final drive of the quarter. Gilbert had a number of overthrows in the second, but was able to get his act together for a very solid two-minute drive.

Jeremy Johnson left the sideline and headed to the locker room early, which is not a good sign for the Mustangs. Johnson has been one of the more consistent wide receivers thus far so losing him for any kind of time would hurt.

2nd Q Defensive Blog

It was more of the same for the SMU defense to start the second quarter. They were unable to slow down the Temple offense as John Christopher made a terrific one-handed catch in the end zone to put the Owls up 21-7.

Following Shead's second fumble of the game, Temple got the ball at their own 42. They again methodically drove their way down the field. SMU twice had the chance to stop them on third down. The first time they stopped Temple short, but a fourth down run up the A-gap gave Temple the first down again. On a third down in the red zone, SMU again inexplicably left an Owl receiver (this time Ryan Alderman) wide open for an easy touchdown.

The third drive of the quarter resulted in the first punt of the game for Temple. However, it didn't really feel like SMU forced Temple off the field as much as the Owls shot themselves in the foot with poor play calls.

The next drive was SMU's best defensive drive of the half. After Jeremy Johnson's fumble gave Temple great field position, the SMU defense forced a three-and-out culminating with a sack of Walker on third down.

While many were focused on Kevin Pope missing today's game, it looks like the biggest loss for the Mustangs was Hayden Greenbauer. Without the cornerback, SMU's secondary looked lost all half. P.J. Walker did not throw his first incompletion until there was four minutes left in the half.

3rd Q Offensive Blog

With the help of some Temple mistakes and a little bit of luck, the Mustangs were able to put together some nice drives in the third quarter.

Gilbert did a good job of spreading the ball amongst the wide receiving core and completing the big passes when needed. SMU didn't shy away from running the ball either, which helped keep Temple on their toes.

Deion Sanders Jr. may have been the most consistent wide receiver of the quarter, showing off his speed and quickness while making Temple tacklers miss. Keenan Holman came away with the big play touchdown that shifted the momentum in SMU's favor.

Gilbert also had a few key quarterback keepers including his huge 53-yard run, which set up his 10-yard touchdown run a few plays later.

3rd Q Defensive Blog

The SMU defense came out with a lot of intensity to start the second half. Chris Parks made a nice tackle for loss on first down on a short pass in the flat. Two straight incompletions because of good secondary play led to a three-and-out for Temple.

The next drive was nearly as short as the first but for all the wrong reasons. It only took Temple four plays to drive over 60 yards. A long run by Zaire Williams to the outside set up an easy touchdown run for P.J. Walker. The Mustangs' defense again proved it cannot string together two straight solid drives.

The next drive SMU again played poorly but the mistakes made by the Owl offense, including a critical dropped pass on third down, led to a punt and the opportunity for SMU to tie the game. Once the game was tied, the defense played with a new energy, quickly shutting down the Owl offense and forcing a three-and-out.

Overall, the SMU defense looked much improved in the third quarter. The second drive was shoddy, but the Mustang pass protection was solid and they allowed the offense to get them back into the game with key stops.

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