How It Happened
It took 4 hours and 30 minutes before the Golden Hurricanes outlasted SMU 43-40 in an up and down game that saw Tulsa run over 100 plays. SMU didn’t mess around opening the game, as they marched 70 yards in just a minute and 41 seconds to take a 7-0 lead. After a Tulsa field goal, Ben Hicks found Alex Honey along the sideline for a 45-yard touchdown off a great play call that left Honey wide open. With momentum in their favor, SMU’s defense gave up a 61-yard touchdown to Josh Flanders that brought the game back to 14-10. SMU’s defense continued to hold strong, despite this play, trading field goals with Tulsa until a weak 92-yard drive in just over a minute gave Tulsa a 23-20 lead heading into halftime. In what was a crazy third quarter with a couple personal fouls on each side, SMU continued to keep it close with both sides putting a touchdown on the board early in the third. The Mustangs defense continued to come up with timely big plays in the 3rd and fourth with the biggest of those coming midway through the fourth quarter. After SMU failed to make it on a fake punt, Darrion Millines jumped Dane Evans pass for SMU's nation leading 13th interception of the season to put SMU right back in scoring position. Not long later, West punched it from 5 yards out to give SMU a 34-30 lead. It didn't take long for Tulsa to regain the lead after DeAngelo Brewer broke free for a 35 yard touchdown to make it 37-34. SMU got it back with just under three minutes to play down by 3 at the 48 yard line. After a big 4th down conversion from Hicks to Sutton, Josh Williams knocked through a 25-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. On SMU's first possession of overtime, they were able to work it down to the 5, before a 3rd down pass intended for Sutton was tipped away. SMU settled for a field goal to make it 40-37. It wasn't enough however, as Dane Evans took it in from 18 yards out for the game winner 43-40.
What It Means
After an embarrassing loss to Temple last weekend, SMU bounced back with a good performance on the road against a good Tulsa squad. For the first time under Hicks, SMU’s offense found a good rhythm and was able to spread the ball around to a number of different receivers. Not only did Hicks look more comfortable this week, he also protected the ball better with no turnovers after throwing 9 interceptions so far this year. Chad Morris challenged this team to step up after Saturday and there is no doubt they responded on a short week.
Player of the Game
Ben Hicks: Hicks has taken his fair share of criticism and rightly so over the last couple weeks but this was a good performance from the redshirt quarterback. Throughout the night, Hicks looked much more in rhythm and was willing to throw the ball away at certain times instead of turning it over. On the night, Hicks finished 29 of 52 for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After SMU had a fumble recovery overturned early in the 3rd, Justin Lawler picked up his second blocked field of the year right after. Two plays later the Mustangs punched it in for a touchdown of their own to take a 27-23 lead.
SMU has a week off before they host Houston October 22 with the time still to be announced.