How it happened: Turnovers didn't help SMU, but Garrett Gilbert was the MVP of the game, orchestrating a number of huge drives that brought the Mustangs back into the game and put them ahead in the fourth quarter for good. SMU got behind early in the first half but finally started to gain momentum in the second half when its offense started clicking on all cylinders. Despite losing Traylon Shead and Jeremy Johnson to injury, the Mustangs stepped up on both sides of the ball, and special teams, when needed. Deion Sanders Jr. had his coming-out game with a number of nice catches and a key 87-yard kickoff return that set up a field goal in the fourth quarter.
What it means: People expected SMU to take care of the Owls with little trouble, so although at times things looked bad for SMU, it was good for the Mustangs to come away with the win heading into a bye week. It was also nice to see the fight in the SMU squad because a lot of teams may have given up early with the way things were looking early. Gilbert showed great poise in crunch time and made a number of timely throws, while the SMU running backs, not named Traylon Shead, stepped up and played respectably. The Mustangs now sit at 2-1 in conference play and come away with a huge come-from-behind win.
Side note: Injuries plagued the Mustangs in this match up. SMU lost Traylon Shead to another leg injury, and this one looked even worse than the first one. Jeremy Johnson also left early and did not return, but the extent of his injury is not known. K.C. Nlemchi saw a good amount of playing time, and for the Mustangs to continue to have a balanced attack, him and Prescott Line will have to show up in a big way against Cincinnati. Beau Barnes also sat out a few plays with a stinger, so having him and Johnson come back healthy after the bye week will be key.
Next: After an unheard-of third bye week, SMU will head to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats (5-2) in an important AAC showdown. This bye week will be important for the Mustangs. SMU needs to get healthy if they want to continue to win and battle their way back into relevance in the AAC.
Rapid Reaction: SMU Rallies To Beat Temple
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