SFA at SMU Recap
George Brown- PonyStampede.com Contributor
A sold-out crowd in Dallas witnessed the polar opposite of what was expected from the Mustangs' offense against Stephan F. Austin in its home opener. Instead of a passing game that would be more comfortable in Jones' complicated scheme. It was the rushing attack that bared the responsibility of SMU winning its first season opener in nine years.
Shawnbrey McNeal ran for 159 yards on just 19 carries started the SMU rushing game on the right foot in the 2009 season. SMU's rushed for only 41.4 yards a game last year. McNeal's performance would prove mandatory for the victory.
Bo Levi Mitchell only completed half his passes for 212 yards. That, plus his two interceptions, on the surface gives the impression of a repeat from last season. But, some the blame could be put on dropped passes. Mitchell was also responsible for a 4th and 1 touchdown run, helping the Mustangs to overcome a nine point deficit in the fourth quarter. His ability to rally the troops gives promise to the 2009 season.
Although the defense did give up 391 yards in the air, they kept the passing game honest with five interceptions. The defense tightened up at the end of the game, holding SFA scoreless in the fourth quarter and allowing the offense to come back.
None of this should take away from the fact the SMU started the season on the right foot. Their victory against the lumberjacks has already matched the win total from last season.
WHAT THE REST OF THE MEDIA IS SAYING:
SFA vs SMU: Final Notebook
Chad Robinson / PonyStampede.com On-Campus Writer
Levi Mitchell looked out of sync the majority of the game, throwing two interceptions. However, he stepped it up in the fourth quarter leading a touchdown drive that put the Ponies ahead.
Fourth-quarter rally salvages ugly opener for SMU KATE HAIROPOULOS / The Dallas Morning News
If the Mustangs were going to win, it was an appropriate way for them to eke it out. They'd been the ones missing all night.
SMU faces difficult road stretch
KATE HAIROPOULOS / The Dallas Morning News
After a red-flag raising performance against Stephen F. Austin, the Mustangs now need to improve – rather quickly – heading into a three-game road trip. Up next is a visit to Alabama-Birmingham, which dismantled Rice last weekend. SMU hasn't won on the road since 2006.
SMU Mustangs rally to beat Stephen F. Austin
Todd E Jones / Pegasus News
The Mustangs defense did manage to force six turnovers including five interceptions in spite of giving 391 passing yards on 31 completions by Stephen F. Austin quarterback Jeremy Moses.
SMU Rallies to Defeat Stephen F. Austin 31-23
Richard Day / Examiner.com
The "All Grit, No Quit" SMU Mustangs gave Saturday's record crowd at Gerald J. Ford Stadium plenty to cheer about, outscoring Stephen F. Austin 17-0 in the fourth quarter on their way to a 31-23 victory in their 2009 season opener.
SFA falls short,31-23
KEVIN GORE / Sentienl
For the most part, SFA beat SMU up and down the field in the season opener for both teams here Saturday night. But six Lumberjack turnovers — five interceptions thrown by junior quarterback Jeremy Moses and a lost fumble - were just enough to enable SMU to avoid being upset.