How it Happened
SMU started the scoring with RC Cox's 72-yard block field goal return touchdown after a sluggish first five minutes. That gave the offense a jolt, and led to four consecutive touchdown drives as the Mustangs took a 35-7 halftime lead. SMU won the line of scrimmage and featured freshman running back Xavier Jones, whose amassed 139 total yards and three touchdowns in the first half. The Mustags run for 323 yards and 7.3 yards per carry. SMU's first two touchdown drives each went 90-plus yards, and it possessed the ball for nearly 20 minutes in the first half. Tulane's offense has struggled all season, but played well against poor defensive teams Army, UCF and Maine. SMU's beleaguered defense held the Green Wave to 104 yards on 3.6 yards per play in the first half. Tulane's defense suffered from spending so much time on the field. SMU added a third 90-yard touchdown drive in the second half, sparked by a 65-yard run by Matt Davis.
What it Means
The coaches had been looking for a complete, 60-minute performance all season, and they got it today. SMU played its best offensive game of the season and stuck to its run-first philosophy. More importantly, it didn't turn the ball over. Defensively, SMU played with more discipline. The coverage was much better downfield, with the execption of Larry Dace's 29-yard touchdown catch. Devin Breaux, Tulane's best downfield threat, had zero catches. SMU wasn't without mistakes and still surrendered 200 rushing yards. Tulane isn't a good team, but SMU's domination of the Green Wave reminded everyone of progress it has made, despite the 2-9 record and long list of defensive lapses and offensive mistakes this season.
Player of the Game
Xavier Jones. Jones was at the center of the game plan, touching the ball 20 times for 161 total yards. His three first-half touchdowns all but decided the game by halftime. He's a good mix of speed and agility and impressed with his quick cuts and vision.
Senior defensive end Zach Wood had a productive day in his final game at Ford Stadium. He blocked the field goal that Cox returned and sacked Tulane quarterback Tanner Lee in the first half.
SMU plays its final game of the season when takes on Memphis on the road at 11 a.m. on Nov. 28.