Pony Stampede Gameday Central: SMU vs. Tulane

Come inside Pony Stampede's Gameday Central with the latest coverage of SMU's road matchup against Tulane on Saturday at 3 pm.

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WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. CT 
WHERE: Yulman Stadium – New Orleans, LA 
TV: ESPNews 
SERIES: Tulane leads 13-9
LAST MEETING: SMU won 49-21 on November 21, 2015
LINE: SMU +3
OVER/UNDER: 51

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First quarter analysis- SMU 14, Tulane 7

  • Tulane's defensive backs didn't show a lot of ball skills or ability in coverage on SMU's opening drive. Proche beat his man easily on his 54-yard catch. On his touchdown, the defender never got his head around and wasn't in great position.
  • SMU forced a three-and-out on Tulane's opening drive. On third down, Kyran Mitchell displayed good leverage and contain in space on a toss. He kept his outside shoulder free, beat his blocker and stopped Dontrell Hilliard in the backfield after a muffed toss.
  • SMU allowed its first sack since Oct. 1 vs. Temple when Rod Teamer came unblocked on a nickel blitz to drop Hicks for a 10-yard loss.
  • On Tulane's fourth-and-1 conversion run by Glen Cuiellette, Jarvis Pruitt needed to keep better contain. He went too far inside and didn't set the edge, giving Cuiellette space.
  • Not a good job by SMU's linebackers and safeties filling the A gaps on Hilliard's 9-yard TD. Jackson Mitchell went out of the gap before the play and Tulane's interior line occupied SMU's interior defensive linemen.
  • Jeremiah Gaines had a nice block on the interior to help create a huge cutback lane for Braeden West on his 35-yard run that set up Ke'Mon Freeman's 1-yard touchdown run. Mitchell Kaufman also provided a block down the field.
  • SMU displayed much better edge discipline and leverage when it forced a three-and-out late in the first with Jonathan Brantley at quarterback.
  • SMU has the right play and protection called on the Hicks interception. Hicks was trying to set up a screen and intentionally left Nico Marley unblocked. Quinlan Carroll made a great play to get up and pick it off. 

Second quarter analysis- SMU 21, Tulane 10

  • On Hicks' second INT, he threw late over the middle off his back foot. He forced the throw to Proche with pressure coming, but underthrew on a route that wasn't really open.
  • Good job by SMU's defense to force a field goal attempt after the interception, which put Tulane inside SMU's 40.
  • SMU's interior offensive line (especially Evan Brown and Daniel McCarty) has done a nice job of moving DT Tanzel Smart off the ball on some of SMU's big runs. The two combined to block him out of his gap on West's 25-yard run. Smart was a first-team all-conference selection in 2015.
  • Josh Williams hooked a field goal from the far right hash too far left. Overcompensated for the angle of the kick.
  • Even though Tulane doesn't throw a lot, its passing game has not been very impressive. There's not a lot of separation from WRs or accuracy from Cuiellette.
  • Hicks stepped up in a collapsing pocket and delivered a perfectly timed throw to Proche on 3rd and 16, which turned into a 35-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Hicks had a small window and had to get the ball over the underneath linebacker in zone coverage. Proche did a great job of timing his leap to get it.
  • Cuiellette had a nice run called back by holding, but Blake Carlisle read it poorly by taking the pitch man after Cuiellette knew he was keeping it. Gave him some space to run.
  • Jordan Wyatt's potential fifth interception hit off his hands, but the play still showed great anticipation from him to read the deep out route and drop back to break it up from underneath.
  • Despite two interceptions and a missed field goal in the first half, SMU has a 21-10 halftime lead and has outgained Tulane 253-79. 
  • The longer SMU can keep its lead at least two possessions, the better chance it has. Tulane is not built to come back in a short amount of time late in the game because of its lack of a passing game. The Green Wave completed four passes and averaged 2 yards per pass in the first half.

Third quarter analysis- Tulane 24, SMU 21

  • R.C. Cox came unblocked to sack Cuiellette right after Tulane finally hit a pass play down the field. Cox has been pushed back by blockers a couple times, but he's played with discipline today.
  • SMU was pinned on its own three, and didn't look like it had any aspirations of trying to move the ball. Three pretty simple plays and not great execution.
  • Kyran Mitchell forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession by quickly moving from taking the pitch man to tackling Cuiellette, who ran right near him, on the keeper for a loss.
  • It's been a tough day for Tulane's defensive backs in coverage, but they played a pick play by SMU (in its own territory) well. The two corners were on different levels, which minimizes the effect of the rub route. The rub concept didn't create separation and the inside receiver was immediately picked up by a linebacker.
  • SMU left Terren Encalade wide open on his 24-yard touchdown pass because Jackson Mitchell was looking into the flat on a screen fake and Mikial Onu was late to help for the same reason. Just not good eye discipline.
  • Kevin Thomas showed off the run blocking skills he consistently displayed in high school on a third down screen to West that picked up a first down.
  • SMU's punting game is doing the defense no favors at all. Can't be kicking 25-yard punts from deep in its own territory.
  • On third and 10, Tulane finally hit a timing throw. The cornerback dropped off to help the out route shallower in the field and Darrion Millines couldn't get over in time. It's a long run for him in Cover 2, but he could have broke on it sooner.
  • Horace Richardson just not sharp in his technique and break trying to play the post route on the go-ahead TD. Playing outside technique, but couldn’t get back into the receiver's back hip and in position to deflect.

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