Upon Further Review: SMU vs. East Carolina

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

So…that was ugly.

Listen; if we’ve established anything the first couple of weeks, it’s that this team isn’t going to win games based on defensive superiority. Nor are they going to overpower teams offensively. SMU is a team in the middle of the rebuilding process. Rebuilding teams are prone to start seasons with a 1-4 record.

The only reason why this 1-4 seems to suck more than it should is because of SMU’s effort against Baylor and TCU.

It’s not that SMU is incapable of beating teams, they can put together quarters and halves of really solid football. They just can’t sustain that level of intensity for 48 minutes. But you already knew that if you’ve been a subscriber for a while.

This is a team whose biggest playmakers are incredibly young and inexperienced. But wait, there’s more! SMU’s coaching staff is also incredibly young and inexperienced. There is going to be a little learning curve, little growing pains.

Against James Maddison we saw a misuse of timeouts. This week we saw SMU lose its most valuable offensive weapon in double coverage.

Courtland Sutton finished the game with just four catches and 51 yards—22 of those coming in one big chunk in garbage time.

Having a receiver that demands double-coverage from opposing defenses, is a good thing. It means other receivers are going to either have one-on-one coverage or someone is going to be wide open.

SMU couldn’t figure out how to attack ECU. Take away Jeremiah’s tipped 60 yard touchdown and it’s a different stat line for SMU. Sutton becomes your leading receiver and Davis only passes for 190 yards and one touchdown…he also rushed for -17 yards.

Say what? Yea, when your QB is sacked eight times for 72 yards, he’s going to finish with negative rushing yards no matter who he is. That also explains his inability to get the ball to other receivers. He didn’t have any time. It’s possible that even if Chad Morris figured out a way to free up Sutton, Davis wouldn’t have been able to get the ball to him.

Now take away ten more points that came off of turnovers—that nifty halfback pass from Xavier Jones to Xavier Castille and Chad Hedlund’s field goal—and SMU’s offense generated only seven points unassisted by its defense or a lucky tip.

Want another sad stat? SMU was 2-14 on third downs which is 14.3 percent. In all three of their losses, SMU has been under 50 percent on third down, go figure.

It was a sad showing from the offense. And I’d like to say Yenga’s ejection in the first quarter affected the defense, but even with all this kool-aid running through my veins, I don’t believe it. I do, however, believe that had James Summers not played, SMU would have held on to win the game regardless of their offensive struggles.

The sad thing is SMU made Summers look like a world-beater—he isn’t one. The Mustangs allowed Summers to go 9-10 for 153 yards and 2 TDs while running for 85 yards on nine rushes with another pair of TDs.

If Summers was that good, Blake Kemp wouldn’t have been the starter Saturday and The Pirates wouldn’t have been unsure about their QB situation heading into week four.

In all three loses we’ve seen SMU come out with fire in the first half only to see them dwindle in the second. It’s a troubling trend to say the least and 42 unanswered points is a tough pill to swallow.

I suppose if there is a bright side, at least SMU is putting up some points right? They are averaging 31.4 points a game which would be the second-highest average in team history. The all-time highest is 32.2 which was posted by 1981’s iteration of the Mustangs. You know…the ones with the Pony something or other.

Alas, potential only goes so far if it isn’t realized.

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