I’m going to keep this one short(er)—mostly because I don’t want to sound like a broken record and also because this team doesn’t want me to call Saturday’s loss what I’ve been calling it all weekend: a moral victory.
After UNT, I told you that they were.
Now, I’m telling you with immense confidence, that all the hype and everything we’ve been hearing since Chad Morris did that radio interview, from a high school parking lot, is true.
SMU is actually a football team. It feels like it’s been a while since we’ve been able to say that, but it really hasn’t. It was just in 2012, that SMU had one of the best and most opportunistic defenses in the country. June Jones did lead us back to some level of relevance… for a while. But he became satisfied with what he accomplished here and lacked the ambition to reach for more. He left behind a colossal mess and despite all the good Morris has done, some of it is simply irreparable in one offseason.
One of the most obvious and most glaring shortcomings on Saturday was SMU’s secondary and its inability to keep receivers in front of them. Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson had a field day, hooking up for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Boykin threw for 454 yards with five touchdowns and rushed for fifty yards and a sixth touchdown.
Still, defensive failing’s aside, the game was much closer than the 56-37 final suggests. TCU scored two touchdowns in the last six and a half minutes. When you consider that the Mustangs made it a five point game in the fourth, with 20 unanswered points spanning a period of just over 14 minutes, the final score just seems wrong.
SMU’s final scoring drive, the field goal that brought them within five, should have ended in another touchdown and possibly a two-point conversion to tie the game. SMU was inside the TCU 15 yard line, down by eight, with nine minutes on the clock. A Matt Davis’ run for negative yards, followed by a sack and a short pass later, Chad Hedlund kicked another field goal.
If you talk to any player or coach about momentum, they’ll tell you how fickle and sensitive it is. A large part of the game has to do with trying to get it on your side and keeping it there once it is. Sometimes, even positive plays, like putting three points on the board can kill momentum. When Courtland Sutton jumps over a defender to make yet another freakish circus catch, momentum is certainly on your side. Settling for a field goal however was a gigantic let down, and a disservice to that amazing catch.
Especially when TCU goes 75 yards in five plays 1:48 later to go back on top by two scores. Isn’t it strange to be looking back on this game as one that got away? SMU wasn’t supposed to be anywhere close to in that game. That was the third best team in the nation and SMU hung with them. Made them sweat for 45+ minutes and was only one or two plays away from making them play from behind in the fourth quarter. That is amazing.
By the way, before I let y’all go, how about that Sutton and Davis connection. So far this season, they’ve connected 12 times for 262 yards and four touchdowns. If Sutton doesn’t make the grab, the ball was either uncatchable or he was able to draw a defensive penalty. Essentially every time the ball is thrown his way, something good happens. Yes, more of that please.
Just wait until we get past these nationally ranked opponents. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing, “Davis to Sutton” an awful lot.