Matt Davis just made expectations for Sutton's game and season that much higher. Sutton ended up with only three catches, but he hauled in another touchdown and was SMU's only true threat at receiver. He's physically imposing, can win jump balls, and was almost everything the coaches and players thought he'd be: a big playmaker. Like the rest of the team, Sutton needed to finish overall better and after the first half, was quiet like the rest of SMU, but he was a huge bright spot with many receivers out there that are still unproven.
Chad Morris did a solid job mixing up the playcalling. Whether it was screens with motions built in, well-timed deep shots, or mixing up the running backs, Morris was in a groove in the first half. Baylor eventually wore down SMU's defensive and offensive line, but the plays were there for SMU to make. Morris' offense isn't fully ready to roll by any means, but that was a phenomenal first half for SMU. Some people will point to the clock management at the end of the first half, but if Davis throws the ball out of the endzone, SMU has a fourth down with 10 seconds left. Perfect. That's a different story, but Morris set Davis and the rest of the offense up to succeed. Davis made the right reads and decisions early before pressing late in the game.
Xavier Jones had 76 total yards, Prescott Line had 35 total yards and Braeden West was a little quieter with 17 yards. Even with those somewhat suspect numbers, against a good front four, SMU had Baylor on its heels at times because of the versatility of the running backs. Davis added over 100 yards on the ground — something SMU hopes to limit in a way, but the threat of the running backs allowed him that space. Morris did a good job rotating the backs as well to keep them fresh. A lot of the times Jones' speed kept the defense honest and that allowed Davis that space to operate. The offensive line also gets a shoutout here because even though I feel like the line wore down late in the game, they really played very well keeping Davis upright and allowing him room to scramble too.
3. Running Backs
1. Defensive BacksNow Baylor is one of the top schools in the country with the top receiving corps in the country, but the cornerbacks were victimized at times by Baylor. Horace Richardson got burned a few times and David Johnson as well. Corey Coleman had his way with the SMU secondary and if it wasn't for a few penalties and a bobbled ball, Baylor really could have had it going much earlier than late third quarter. SMU's secondary didn't make enough plays on the ball, but did force an interception after SMU threw one of their own. Overall, SMU had their moments where they made plays to disrupt the passing game, but for the most part, they were torched. Baylor is behind them now, but against TCU for example, the secondary better be ready to go against another top group of receivers.
SMU got a total 24 yards from the other receiver targets for the night and didn't complete a pass to Jeremiah Gaines. Whether that was by design or Baylor taking away Gaines, SMU needed a little more out of their other receivers and it's not just catching the ball. Blocking was tough at times when SMU tried sweeps and other plays to get players on the edge. SMU needs other targets for Davis besides Courtland Sutton or it's going to be a little tougher on the passing game than most would think. Baylor did a good job on the other receivers, but separation and playmaking is much needed.
2. Other Receivers
SMU was brutal at times when they needed it the most at tackling. Jonathan Yenga missed multiple tackles in the backfield and the likes of Nick Horton and Justin Lawler missed tackles in the redzone that might have prevented scores. That was a big difference in the running game with Baylor gashing SMU up the middle. Gaps needed plugging and tackles needed to be made. SMU did a lot better tackling than last year, but still has a long way to go.