Matt Visinsky

Rapid Reaction: SMU vs. ECU

SMU went on the road and beat ECU, 55-31, to improve to 5-5.

How It Happened

In a matchup of stud receivers, Courtland Sutton and SMU prevailed over Zay Jones and ECU, 55-31. This game got off to an incredibly exciting start, as SMU and ECU traded scores for much of the first half. After ECU hit a field goal in the second quarter to knot the game up at 17, Ben Hicks led a long drive that culminated in a 10-yard catch-and-run by James Proche to give SMU a 7-point lead. On the ensuing ECU drive, Horace Richardson jumped a screen and took it 70 yards for easy six points. ECU also turned it over on their next two drives, and a spectacular touchdown reception by Courtland Sutton gave the Mustangs a 21-point lead. However ECU’s replacement quarterback Gardner Minshew led the Pirates down the field in the final 1:09 of the half, and threw a touchdown as the final seconds ticked off the clock. SMU went into the locker room with a 38-24 lead.

On the opening drive of the second half, Horace Richardson picked off a tipped pass and ran that back for another touchdown. The game was never really close after that. ECU did not score at all until the early fourth quarter, while SMU moved the ball on them easily, as Ke’Mon Freeman and Braeden West ran the ball all over ECU’s defense. Safety Kevin Johnson even got in on the action, lining up in the backfield and taking a pitch into the end zone. Ben Hicks played a very good game, finding Sutton all over the field, converting third downs, and avoiding turnovers. He finished 18 of 30 for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

What It Means

The Mustangs showed their ability to bounce back after a tough loss. After getting destroyed by Memphis, the team made the necessary adjustments and went on the road for a big win. The offense was clinical today, as SMU threw it and ran it with lots of success. SMU is now 5-5, one win away from a bowl game. Their remaining matchups will be tough, against USF and Navy, but if the Mustangs steal one of those, they’re in. 

Player Of The Game

Courtland Sutton. While Ben Hicks and Horace Richardson are also worthy candidates for the award, Sutton dominated this game. He was getting separation against the ECU secondary on most plays, and even when he wasn’t he could rise over ECU defenders for receptions. Sutton finished with 12 catches for 166 yards and 2 scores. 

Side Note

SMU was kicking it short on kickoffs for most of the game, giving ECU great field position to start drives. 

What's Next

SMU plays USF at Ford Stadium on Saturday. Game time is still to be announced. 

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