3 Up, 3 Down: SMU vs. JMU

Hatts gives his 3 up, 3 down from SMU's loss to James Madison Saturday night

3 Up

1. Courtland Sutton

Courtland Sutton continued his big start to the season with 137 yards receiving and one touchdown on just five receptions. Sutton went up and made some really tough catches in traffic but also disappeared at times during this game. The focus for SMU moving forward is to get this guy the ball even more than they already are. No other receiver for SMU had more than 40 yards receiving, which likely has led to all the attention being on Sutton. Despite this, it was another impressive for the redshirt freshman.

2. Freshman Running Backs

Xavier Jones and Braeden West were hot. This is a phrase mentioned multiple times during the postgame press conferences and was very true. Jones and West combined for 132 yards rushing on 25 attempts and also contributed a lot in the passing game. It was also impressive that late in the game when SMU needed a play, they turned to their two freshman running backs to make plays in space.

3. Matt Davis

Matt Davis just keeps finding a way to make plays for this team and show tremendous leadership while he’s doing it. Davis was sacked on a couple of occasions, and could get rid of the ball sooner, but found a way to make enough plays with his legs and arms to bail out the defense as much as he could. On the day, Davis had 262 yards through the air and another 95 yards on the ground. The fumble did hurt SMU but the number of big plays Davis made late in the game was something this team needed desperately he just couldn’t overcome the performance the defense put on the field.

3 Down

1. Run Defense

James Madison ran every which way they wanted to go in amassing 440 yards of rushing. SMU’s offense put up 45 points and amassed close to 500 yards totally, and guaranteed if James Madison had another possession in this game they would have topped SMU’s total yardage just on the ground. Trying to guess what Vad Lee was going to do with the ball was a problem all night for SMU especially right up the middle where he did most of his damage.

2. Offensive Line

SMU put up 45 points but SMU’s offensive line struggled throughout the game both running and passing the ball. Davis was sacked five times and there were a number of other occasions where plays were just going nowhere in the backfield. SMU did try Chad Pursley at left tackle but Briggs also saw time there. The problem for SMU in this game was the pressure came from everywhere; Davis also bailed them out a couple times with his legs.

3. Third Down Conversions

SMU was great on offense but five for fifteen on third downs is not going to get it done. Especially with a defense that was obviously struggling mightily on the other side of the ball, this was an area the offense could have helped out by staying on the field a little bit more. Give SMU credit for putting up 494 yards of offense but this will be a focus heading into next week.


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