HOW IT HAPPENED
As it has been all season, Thursday’s loss to Houston was a tale of two halves. Once again SMU gave a game away in the second half. After playing a close and competitive first half, SMU failed to answer the bell in the second and got blow out by Houston 49 to 28. If you want to find a turning point, just look at the second quarter—three lost fumbles by SMU turned into 14 points for Houston. Houston took a 28-21 lead in the second half. Still, SMU had its chances in the second half, but simply failed to show up. And once again a mobile quarterback took SMU’s lunch money. Greg Ward Jr. finished the day with 243 passing on 16 of 18 passing and ran for 82. Ward found the end zone four times on the ground. Despite all the Mustang’s defensive weaknesses, mobile quarterbacks might be their biggest Achilles heel.
WHAT IT MEANS
SMU has now lost four straight and is 1-5. After such a promising start to the season, the Mustang continue to regress. The level of completion has gotten much easier when compared to Baylor and TCU…yet, so has their performance. We already know SMU’s defense is vulnerable, but we all thought the offense would be able to do enough…and it does…in the first halves of games. After doing a good job of protecting the ball most of the season, SMU gave away three fumbles in the first half. Not to beat a dead horse—but all three of those could have been SMU points instead of Houston points. Momentum is everything and SMU did all it could to make sure Houston had it all.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
SMU's best player was by far Justin Lawler. He finished with nine tackles and a career-high two sacks. It was a good performance for him and a defensive line that had failed to generate adequate pressure. They did it sporadically Thursday, but that is better than not at all. The defense posted a season high three sacks. So they had that going for them, which was nice.
If you want to get even more micro and pick out a turning point in the game here it is: after Braeden West's second fumble, Houston began driving down the field. After its second play of the drive, the Cougars left tackle Zach Johnson went down with an injury. At that time, Houston only had one time out left. Their timeout was not used and there was no 10 second run off. Houston was able to then use that timeout with 16 second left, before scoring a go ahead touchdown 14 seconds later—making it 28-21.
SMU travels to Florida to face the South Florida Bulls Sat. Oct 31 at a time to be determined.