1. The Pope- Kevin Pope deserves plenty of credit for the heart and hustle he showed today. With K.C. Nlemchi out with an injury, Pope came in and played running back and also started at inside linebacker. Pope proved to be a more explosive option in the backfield than Prescott Line and made numerous key tackles on the defensive side of the ball. But this all goes back to recruiting. Pope should have never been asked to do this.
2. Interceptions- The SMU defense wasn't completely terrible today. They just didn't get a whole lot of help from the offense. Still, the defense doesn't really deserve an up here so let's just go with the interceptions. Both Kenneth Acker and Randall Joyner picked off Houston quarterback John O'Korn today. Unfortunately for SMU, the offense wasn't able to do much with them.
3. Rambo- Speaking of Joyner, he had a decent game today. Along with the interception, Joyner led the team with nine tackles and made sure the unit didn't give up even when the Ponies were down by 30 late in the game. Joyner is the most passionate player on the field, and this loss must have really crushed him. But he always kept his head up.
1. Neal Burcham- With Garrett Gilbert out, SMU turned to redshirt quarterback Neal Burcham. But June Jones was right, Burcham wasn't ready. Burcham was flat out terrible today. He threw for just 212 yards and no touchdowns with three interceptions. Burcham made horrendous decisions all day long and could have easily been picked off three more times. He will need to make more than just incremental improvements if SMU wants to upset UCF next week.
2. Outside Receivers- The outside receivers were a non-factor today. Yes, Burcham was horrible, but Keenan Holman and Der'rikk Thompson really struggled. Holman disappeared for most of the game and finished with just two catches for 16 yards yards. Thompson dropped numerous passes and was just sloppy. Thompson has speed, but he doesn't have great hands and needs to toughen up. He had just one reception for 16 yards.
3. The Little Things- Today was just not SMU's day. The Ponies turned it over four times. The ugliest came right before halftime when Burcham wasn't ready for a snap, and Houston returned it 61 yards to the SMU 1-yard line. Special teams were once again a nightmare. Chase Hover had two 19-yards punts and Deion Sanders Jr. didn't do anything in the return game. SMU was also penalized ten times for 90 yards. It was clear this team wasn't ready for a tough road game yet again and that falls on June Jones, who was shut out for the first time in his head coaching career.
3 Up, 3 Down
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