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Rapid Reaction: SMU vs. Liberty

SMU beat Liberty 29-14 in its home opener Saturday night to move to 2-1 this season.

How it happened

SMU allowed Liberty to linger the because of Ben Hicks' two end zone interceptions in the first half and Josh Williams' fourth-quarter missed field goal.. SMU held a 13-7 halftime lead despite out-gaining the Flames 300 to 135, intercepting two passes and forcing a turnover on downs. After each Liberty interception, SMU only kicked a field goal after reaching Liberty's 14-yard line. SMU added a touchdown in the third quarter on Braeden West's 66-yard run and intercepted Liberty quarterback Stephon Masha for the third time on the next series. Liberty used a 13-play, 63-yard drive to make the score 19-14 on Stephen Calvert's 8-yard touchdown pass to Dante' Shells. Williams missed a 30-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter after two Liberty personal fouls gave SMU first-and-10 at the 14. Liberty took over and reached SMU's 8-yard line, but Michael Badejo's third-down sack and Alex Probert's missed field goal kept the Flames from scoring. Earlier in the possession, B.J. Farrow's 30-yard touchdown catch was called back after an ineligible man downfield. SMU sealed the win with Williams' third field goal and Jordan Wyatt's 34-yard interception return for a touchdown.

What it means

SMU has a winning record again, but its red zone inefficiency issues persisted. Since the start of the game at Baylor, SMU has thrown four interceptions and kicked five field goals and missed one field goal in 10 trips inside an opponent's 15-yard line. Its touchdowns against Liberty came on a 26-yard touchdown run, a 66-yard touchdown run and Wyatt's interception return. SMU survived against Liberty because it forced four turnovers of its own, but against more disciplined teams, it won't be able to win those games.

Player of the Game

Braeden West. With Xavier Jones missing a second straight game, West led SMU in carries (24) and rushed for 220 yards with two touchdowns. With Ben Hicks struggling again, West was SMU's best player and most consistent source of offense. It's his first career 100-yard game.

Side Note

Freshman running back Jordan Carmouche entered the game in the first half, burning his redshirt. He had 5 carries for 20 yards. SMU needed some running back depth with Xavier Jones still out and Braeden West active, but nursing an injury.

What's Next

SMU will host TCU in the Battle for the Iron Skillet on Friday at Ford Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. CT.

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