Upon Further Review: SMU vs. James Madison

Demo has your Upon Further Review following SMU's loss to James Madison on Saturday.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Reality Airport. Local time is 1:03 and the temperature is as tepid as that SMU defense .

For your safety and comfort, please remain seated with your seat belt fastened until the Captain turns off the Fasten Seat Belt sign. This will indicate that we have parked at the gate and that it is safe for you to curl up in a ball and bawl your eyes out.

Please check around your seat for any unrealistic expectations you may have brought on board with you and please use caution when opening the overhead bins, as your unfounded hopes and dreams may have shifted around during the flight.

If you require deplaning assistance, please remain in your seat until all other passengers have deplaned. One of our crew members will then be pleased to assist you.

We remind you to please wait until you are inside the terminal to use any electronic devices (or to scream out in disgust-filled sorrow.)

On behalf of Overreaction Airlines and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip and we are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice day! …

There is a danger with moral victories often overshadowed by all the post defeat, congratulatory whispers. After hanging in for most of the game against both Baylor and TCU, a 48-45 loss to James Maddison was absolutely unexpected. We (myself included) were all but too ready to crown SMU as the comeback kids of the year. They may very well still be that, but it is easy to understand those who are panicking and are now unsure of what to expect moving forward.

To quote the dude dating Olivia Munn—relax.

Things are going to be okay. Were we overreacting during the first couple of games? Sure, we were so darn excited to be competitive again we were willing to slightly overlook some of the teams glaring problems because of their tremendous and equally obvious potential.

SMU is not a great defensive team right now—they’re opportunistic. There is a pretty big difference but the good news is that sometimes an opportunistic defense is enough, especially when they create a ton of turnovers. As it turned out, however, three interceptions weren’t enough to stop The Dukes.

While the defense is still trying to figure things out, the offense has certainly got things down: Let Matt Davis make awesome plays with his legs and throw it up to the gigantic, man-beast, Courtland Sutton. It definitely works and when you add other playmakers like Xavier Jones and Braeden West, it can be pretty hard for defenses to shut down.

Let’s also not take anything away from JMU, unlike SMU they were hungry and Vad Lee played like a man possessed. Lee finished with 565 total yards and accounted for five of JMU’s touchdowns. The last time I saw that kind of performance from an opposing quarterback at SMU, the next morning everyone was saying, ‘Johnny-who, did what?’

So, let’s learn from our mistakes and not overreact here. SMU lost poorly to a good FCS team, but it isn’t the end of the world.

This past weekend was also SMU’s homecoming. To quote a high school football coach in Houston: homecoming is just another one of those words that puts fear in the heart of football coaches.

There are so many distractions and it can be easy for players to lose focus on the task at hand…especially when national media is showering your team and your head coach with buckets of praise for your two losses in the first three games. That kind of positivity can go to your head when you’re not used to hearing good things about yourself. And big FBS heads tend to confidently look past FCS teams.

It was pretty apparent that SMU was not as dialed in as they were against Baylor, UNT, or TCU. That fire that made us excited wasn’t always burning Saturday night and was faint and fleeting when it was.

Hopefully this gut-wrenching three-point loss will be enough motivation to come out firing on all cylinders against a gritty ECU team.


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