Matt Visinsky

Pony Stampede Gameday Central: SMU Mustangs vs. Houston Cougars

Hatts has Pony Stampede's coverage of SMU vs. Houston from Ford Stadium on Saturday at 6 pm CT.

WHEN: Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. CT 
WHERE: Gerald J. Ford Stadium – Dallas, TX 
TV: ESPN2 
SERIES: Houston leads 20-10-1
LAST MEETING: SMU lost 49-28 on October 8, 2015
LINE: SMU +21
OVER/UNDER: 63

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SMU-Houston Quick Links

First quarter blog/analysis- SMU 7, Houston 0

  • Houston is showing its vaunted no down-linemen pressure on third down. SMU has picked it up well each time, including on Sutton's 29-yard catch.
  • Jarvis Pruitt bullied a Houston tight end on his sack. Drove him back about 7 yards, then kept pursuing to run down Greg Ward from the back side.
  • Rodney Clemons flipped Chance Allen on his back and forced the fumble.
  • Not much room for cutback lanes in SMU's running game. Houston played with good leverage... 
  • ...except on Ke'Mon Freeman's 38 yard run. Huge hole opened up for him.
  • Lots of Freeman, not much Braeden West through two drives for SMU.
  • Read-option from SMU on the Hicks one-yard TD.
  • Great open-field tackle and strip by Darrion Millines on 3rd and 11 to get SMU the ball back. Good to see from him after he's had some games in which he's struggled to tackle in space and play with good leverage.
  • Big sack from Demerick Gary on third down. SMU ran a stunt and that confused Houston's OL. Demerick displayed nice power too.
  • As usual, Courtland Sutton displaying some impressive physicality. Boxed out a defender (who was called for pass interference) to make a catch on a comeback route on third-and-11.

Second quarter blog/analysis- SMU 28, Houston 7 

  • Gaines ran a wheel route for the 31-yard touchdown. Seeing him get some more separation in recent games.
  • Rodney Clemons batted the ball out of Steven Dunbar's hands on an incompletion, but he appeared to take a couple steps first. The call was not reviewed and SMU ended up forcing an three-and-out.
  • Braeden West didn't get his first carry until the second quarter. Lots of Freeman and Myron Gailliard early.
  • Kevin Thomas had two catches by the middle of the second quarter. The second was a 21-yard gain on which he settled in the middle of the field. That's also as many catches has he had in the six games before today.
  • Great design on the screen to West that got SMU down to Houston's 1-yard line. West seemed to hide behind the two offensive linemen that moved downfield to block for him. Got him in space with blockers ahead of him
  • Rodney Clemons is having a heck of game. Blew up a screen for D'Eriq King and tackled him for no gain. Nearly intercepted the pass.
  • Oliver had been quiet until midway through the second quarter, when he slipped between two pulling linemen, tackled Freeman and forced a fumble that Houston recovered on SMU's 10-yard line.
  • Jordan Wyatt played a back-shoulder fade route on third-and-goal from the 5 really well. Was on Dunbar's hip and didn't allow him to get any space.
  • Dunbar beat Wyatt on a fade for a touchdown on the next play. Great throw and catch, but Wyatt didn't get fully turned around to make a play.
  • SMU bit pretty hard on the long-developing double reverse for Marquez Stevenson. Only one defender on the side it went to after everyone bit on the fake to the other side. Greg Ward had a block on Justin Lawler, who overran on his pursuit of Stevenson.
  • After the reverse, which put Houston at SMU's 25, the Cougars went backwards on the next three plays and missed a 47-yard field goal.
  • SMU appeared to be content with letting the final 1:07 run out, but Braeden West had huge hole up the middle for a 40-yard gain. SMU's interior line stood up Steven Taylor and Ed Oliver.
  • On James Proche's walk-in touchdown, Brandon Wilson went with the post route and left Proche uncovered. Wilson was one of three defenders covering the receiver than ran the post, leaving Proche open.

Third quarter blog/analysis: SMU 28, Houston 14

  • Justin Lawler, who had a bit of a quiet first half, pressured Ward on third down on Houston's first possession of the half to force a short-hopped pass to an open Steven Dunbar.
  • Jarvis Pruitt is having a great game. Got his second sack of the night when he sneaked between the left tackle and guard for a sack.
  • Chance Allen made a nice double-move on a post route and catch to get Houston in a goal-to-go situation.
  • Good design on the throwback screen touchdown to Tyler McCloskey. Ward rolled out one way, McClosky chipped and then came across the formation in the flat undetected. 
  • SMU ran a successful fake punt after failing to convert on one vs. Tulsa. Jamie Sackville picked up 12 yards on fourth-and-nine on a scramble. Perfectly blocked and Houston did not anticipate it at all.
  • Shelby Walker pulled out a nice double-move to get open for 18 yards on the play after the fake.
  • Jarvis Pruitt and the rest of the SMU defensive line are showing off a great motor today. Pruitt picked up his third sack of the game when SMU's coverage held up down the field. 
  • Zelt Minor showed impressive power on a WWE-style takedown of Houston's backup center on third down, which forced Ward to roll out of the pocket and throw the ball away. 
  • Interesting, and strange, call by SMU on 3rd and 6 to throw the ball 3 yards short of the sticks. 

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