James Proche and Courtland Sutton
SMU’s top two receivers showed up today combining for 13 catches for 194 yards. SMU didn’t have a lot go right in the passing game but they have to be excited about what they saw from James Proche and Courtland Sutton. Proche showed the shiftiness that has SMU coaches raving about his potential and also converted a couple big third downs for SMU. On the day, Proche finished with 7 receptions for 84 yards. Sutton was also stellar today making a number of tough catches for the Mustangs finishing with 6 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
Open Field Tackling
Against a Baylor team filled with speed, this has often hurt SMU in the past. Today, however, Horace Richardson, Darrion Millines and others were up to the task bringing down the likes of KD Cannon and Shock Linwood in the open field for most of the game. They did lose contain on a third quarter touchdown run by Seth Russell but overall did a nice job bringing down Baylor’s receivers and limited them to very little yards after the catch. This in large part helped keep SMU in the game and hold Baylor without a touchdown in the first half. Late in the game as the offense continued to stall out, the secondary started to give up some chunk yards in the running game but still have to be happy with these team’s performance as a whole.
Ke’Mon Freeman and Braeden West
With Xavier Jones out for today’s game, SMU’s other two talented running backs stepped up to the plate giving SMU some much needed balance. Fumbles were an issue with both backs putting one on the ground however as a tandem they combined for 170 yards on 34 carries. Ke’Mon Freeman continued to show the power he possesses and certainly can get those tough yards in short yardage situations.
After coming out firing in the first quarter with a couple nice passes to Courtland Sutton and James Proche, it was a miserable rest of the afternoon for the redshirt freshman in his homecoming. Hicks had 3 costly interceptions with two of those coming in the red zone and another taken back for a pick-six. The former Waco Midway quarterback struggled staring down his receivers but also badly underthrew receivers on a couple of throws. To his credit Hicks did bounce back with a nice touchdown strike to Sutton following his third pick of the day but it was tough sledding overall. Hicks finished the day 17 of 44 for 229 with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Converting in the Red Zone
SMU had their chance to build a big lead in the first half but couldn’t do anything with a couple great opportunities. The Mustangs had four trips inside the 12-yard line but only came away with 6 points total. Say what you will about being conservative versus going for it on fourth down, SMU had their chances to punch those in for scores but continued to shoot themselves in the foot. A lot of those were freshman mistakes by Hicks but SMU as a group running and throwing the ball has to execute better.
You want to stick with a high quality team like Baylor on the road? Four turnovers just is not going to get it done, especially with two of those coming in the red zone and another going for 6 points. The fumble by Ke’Mon Freeman hurts but SMU did well to just hold Baylor to 3 points. It also can’t be ignored that many of SMU’s turnovers came after they had forced a couple turnovers of their own. As an underdog on the road, that kills momentum and is hard to overcome.