Matt Visinsky

Upon Further Review: SMU vs. Tulane

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SMU vs. Tulane Photo Gallery

Man oh man—it’s been much too long since SMU put a whooping on anybody. And after the Mustangs spanked Tulane 49-21, they are officially better than last season!

It’s a pretty big deal, because while getting win number one any week before week 12 was an improvement, picking up win number two confirms progress. 

The best part about Saturday’s game was that SMU finally played a whole game…well, except for that third quarter where they didn’t score and gained just 43 yards…

Anyway the point is, SMU played about as complete of a game as they have in the last two seasons. 

And you know what? It might have been senior night, but someone sure forgot to tell freshman Xavier Jones that because he was tearing it up. 

At halftime he’d already racked up 91 yards and found the end zone three times. He now has 10 rushing TDs this season—that’s a SMU freshman record. It’s also the first time an SMU rusher scored three times in a game since good ol’ Zachary Line did it against Tulsa back in 2012. 

 He’d finish with a career high 117 yards on 17 carries. That’s a healthy average of 6.9 yards a carry. It’s also the first 100 yard rushing game for an SMU running back since Line did it against Memphis in 2012. Not too shabby. 

Well, what if I told you he wasn’t even SMU’s best runner on Saturday? Well he wasn’t.

SMU quarterback Matt Davis had one of his best games of the season, not only was he careful with the football, but he was making plays with both his arm and his feet. When it was all said and done, Davis picked up 156 yards on 16 carries. That’s almost a first down every time he tucked the ball. 

Not only does Davis and Jones sound like a law firm, but the duo are the first Mustangs to have 100+ yards in the same game since Keylon Kincade and Kris Briggs did it in 2002. 

On top of his rushing yards, Davis also threw for 165 yards on 17 of 24 passing. The best part of his stat line though? Absolutely zero sacks. I don’t know how long it’s been since SMU managed to keep the quarterback that clean. 

But getting back to that run game—in total, SMU had 323 yards on the ground which ties the season high previously set against UNT…it’s only other win. Coincidence? I think not.  

Now, when I said earlier that SMU played a complete game, I meant it. You had Zach Wood block a field goal and RC Cox returned it 66 yards to kick start the game—by the way kudos to Wood for his third block this season, and congrats to Cox on his first career TD—and from there it was gravy. 

SMU led 35-7 at halftime. THIRTY FIVE TO SEVEN. 

It was the largest SMU halftime lead since 2013, and the first time fans felt good about the second half all year. 

The most surprising part of SMU’s win was the defense. Time and time again SMU got off the field when it needed to. Tulane managed to convert on third down just four times out of 13 tries. And at the end of the day SMU held The Green Wave to just 328 total offense.

And yet despite the defensive effort, and the success of the running game, SMU’s ability to overcome its own mistakes was the most impressive part of the win. 

The Mustangs were penalized 14 times for 123 yards. And the majority of those penalties were against the offense. Normally offensive penalties are drive killers for the Mustangs, but not on Saturday. It seemed nothing, not penalties and most certainly not poor field position, would stop SMU. 

Three of SMU’s touchdowns came on drives of 90 yards or more—including a seven-play 99-yard drive that ended with a one yard Prescott Line TD in the fourth quarter. 

That’s probably going to be the best game SMU will play this season and it’s totally okay. 

This season might not have been what we expected it to be, nor is the team where we thought they would be at this point.

And the only way I can think to express my feelings when looking at the season, is naturally, to share this quote from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, “This is an ugly baby, but it’s our baby.”  

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