Up No. 1: Courtland Sutton
Well, no surprise here really. Courtland Sutton finished with four catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns. With the Cowboys, 49ers and Rams watching, Sutton put on an athletic show. Sutton hauled in a 46-yard touchdown on 3rd and 45 (yes, that's right.) In the redzone, Sutton caught a four-yard touchdown pass with a defender draped all over him. The big man added another touchdown on the day and SMU looked his way enough to keep UNT honest and not looking to stop the run all game. This was the first in what should be a special year for Sutton.
Up No. 2: Turnover Machine
SMU only had turnover on the day, but forced three interceptions by North Texas and almost had a fumble recovery too. The defense stepped up in that regard with two interceptions on the day and Darrion Millines added one as well. SMU's young group missed a couple chances to have more turnovers, but the team was opportunistic on the day and benefitted from that. SMU has to stay on the plus side of the turnover margin to really take a step forward this year.
Up No. 3: Freshmen Perform
You can't really start off your college career better than redshirt freshman Ben Hicks did after he came in for Davis after his injury. Hicks threw an 88-yard touchdown pass to Sutton on his second pass. Hicks directed another scoring drive and if not for an SMU fumble (Mustangs recovered), probably would have had another. Hicks finished five of nine for 145 yards. Running back Ke'Mon Freeman also stepped up with five carries on 39 yards. With Jones' status up in the air, SMU fans should see more of Freeman on the ground, which will be a welcome sight. Mikial Onu played well on the backend at safety and Kevin Johnson should have had a fumble recovery, but tried to scoop and score instead. Michael Badejo, Demerick Gary and other freshmen also saw significant snaps.
Down No. 1: Injury Bug
Two of SMU's top offensive performers in Davis and Jones went down on the day. That's something SMU did not want to see heading into a huge game with Baylor on the road next week. Jones finished with 12 carries for 117 yards and was breaking for another touchdown when he went down grabbing his hamstring. Freeman will see even more time if Jones can't go and is certainly ready physically to go. SMU defensive lineman Zelt Minor was also hurt on the day.
Down No. 2: Secondary Breakdowns
With how often UNT threw the ball and how much man coverage SMU plays, this was somewhat expected. What SMU didn't expect was the defensive breakdown at the end of the first half that let UNT close the gap to 24-14. Jordan Wyatt was targeted multiple times on the game and the SMU secondary was just a step late on getting to some balls. SMU was playing very soft late in the game, but even earlier in the game, SMU was slow to make plays. With the poor quarterback play, SMU got interceptions most quarterbacks wouldn't have thrown. UNT threw for 311 yards as a team today and was one-dimensional, rushing for 83 yards on 29 attempts. Not bad rush defense. SMU had five sacks on the day too.
Down No. 3: Penalties
SMU racked up a few too many penalties today with seven for 60 yards. Heading into the Baylor game, SMU has to clean that up. Mainly, it was the offensive side of the ball that gave SMU the trouble.