SMU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell made a statement in the first half with his four touchdowns.
His fifth – a high, lofting pass that went 34 yards into the hands of Aldrick Robinson just over the goal line for SMU's final touchdown – put the exclamation point on the true freshman's second career start.
Mitchell and his receivers are "starting to ‘get' it," as head coach June Jones has termed it since pre-season practices began.
The freshman's five touchdowns marked the first time a Mustangs quarterback has thrown that many since 2006. His 370 passing yards against Texas State rank 13th for a single game at SMU.
But Jones and Mitchell agree it could have been better, and vow it will be with more work.
"Bo did a lot of good things out there," Jones said following the game. "The 13 incompletions he had, when he looks at them tomorrow, he should have had 37 out of 37. He's getting better every week, and he made some big third-down throws when we had to have them."
Mitchell used some short passes in the early going to get into the rhythm, hitting running back DeMyron Martin out of the backfield three times on the Mustangs' first three drives.
Mitchell finished the half 10-of-13, including touchdown throws of 21 yards to Emmanuel Sanders for SMU's first score, 32 yards to Aldrick Robinson on the next possession, 8 yards to Sanders again on a quick toss in the left flat, and a quick in to Sanders on the right side that the junior turned into a 35-yard touchdown.
We have plenty of things to improve on from this game," Mitchell said. "A lot of missed passes and missed assignments and stuff. I've got to put the ball on the money, and instead of 370 yards, we have 500 yards, and a couple of more touchdowns."
None of Mitchell's passes were as on-the-money as the final score to Robinson. Mitchell read the coverage at the line, saw Robinson a half-step ahead of the cornerback one second into the play, and sent the ball toward the end zone with Robinson still at the 20-yard line.
Robinson beat the defender, but adjusted back to the ball at the goal line to catch the pass with the cornerback's back turned to the ball.
"(The passing game) is only going to get better, because every game, we're going to get better and better, and it's going to be pretty scary when we start clicking," said Sanders, whose three touchdowns moved him into a tie with Jerry LeVias for second on SMU's career touchdown list with 22.
Jones spoke of how quickly the passing game has come, reserving special praise for Sanders and Robinson, SMU's starting outside receivers.
"I think they have (as much) talent as anybody I've had anywhere," Jones said following the game. "I told Aldrick in the spring that I thought he had a chance to be the best outside guy I ever had. I know that coaches don't say that sometimes, but he's got to learn how to practice harder if he wants to be a Jerry Rice. "If he wants to be a big-time player, he's got to learn to come to play and come to practice every day. He and Emmanuel have gifts, and the work ethic that Emmanuel has is going to make him a great player, not just at SMU, it's going to make him a great player in the pros."
LeVias, incidently, was in the crowd Saturday along with other members of the 1968 Mustangs team that beat Oklahoma in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl.
"Jerry LeVias is one of the greatest receivers to ever come through here," Sanders said, so just having my name mentioned with his is an honor. I'm going to take it, and I'm going to continue to work hard."