Special Teams Step Up for SMU's 3rd Victory

Less than 24 hours after their biggest win of the season, PonyStampede.com takes a deeper look at their special teams effort! If you don't have a premium membership, you are missing out!

After a brutal slaying by TCU, the Mustangs hosted the ECU Pirates for their second home game of the year. The score rose by more unconventional means than traditional football play, but SMU has found some strong worth in some surprising facets of the team. A 28-21 victory over ECU gives SMU their first 2-0 record in conference play since 1986, bringing their overall record to 3-2.


WHY THE WON

First quarter goal line stand- With the score still tied 0-0, ECU marched down the field to the 2 yard line with a first and goal, looking to go ahead 7-0. With three consecutive rushes, SMU stuffed the Pirates for a total gain of one yard, forcing a fourth and one. After a false start moved ECU back to the six, the pirates were forced to kick a field goal, which was blocked by SMU, keeping the score board empty.

Blocked field goal for touchdown- With a 7-0 lead, ECU looked to go up by two scores with a field goal. SMU blocked the attempt, their second block on the day, and Bryan McCann ran it back for the touchdown, a ten point swing which tied the game.

Third down sack to end the half- With less than a minute left in the first half, ECU was in field goal range once again, with a 3rd and 8. SMU stopped the first down conversion with a sack, pushing ECU out of field goal and, once again, stopping an ECU opportunity to add three more points to the score board.

96 yard pass- After a defensive stand, a well placed punt by ECU put the Mustangs on the four yard line. On the first play, Bo Levi Mitchell threaded the needle perfectly, hitting a print happy Robinson right over his shoulder. He was double covered at midfield, and did not even have to shift as the ball came right into his hands in stride, putting SMU ahead, 14-7. It was the longest passing play in SMU history.

Dennis interception for touchdown- Immediately after the tremendous passing TD, ECU lost the kickoff return by fumbling the ball. An unsuccessful offensive drive by SMU gave the ball back to the Pirates, which resulted in an Interception at midfield that was returned for a touchdown. He was touched by five different pirates in his run to the endzone.

No interceptions- Bo Levi Mitchell has already thrown ten interceptions in his first four games, including two that crushed SMU's hoped to put a halt to Washington State's comeback victory. With SMU only winning by seven against ECU, any interception could have been just as damaging. Mitchell showed an uncharacteristic level of comfort in the passing game, keeping the Mustangs conference record unscathed. It was his first game this season without an interception.



WHY THEY COULD HAVE LOST

Lack of rush defense- Regardless of their pivotal early game goal line stance, SMU allowed a total of 176 rushing yards in the game, including 105 yards to Dominique Lindsay in the first half alone. Although they did keep ECU under 200 yards passing, a lack of ability to stop the rush will hurt SMU tremendously in next week's game against Navy.

Kickoff return for TD- After Mitchell's second touchdown of the night, SMU was up by two touchdowns with less than five minutes left in the game. A defensive stand probably would have put the final nail in the coffin, but a kickoff return for a touchdown for a touchdown kept it a one score game.

Penalty yards- SMU were flagged 12 times in the night for a total of 158 yards. Five of the penalties were personal foul call, brought on by late hits and unnecessary roughness. Each of the personal fouls cost the Mustangs 15 yards in field position, which could have ruined the Mustangs victory, had ECU been able to capitalize on any of them.

3rd down conversions- SMU only converted 2 of the 10 third down conversion opportunities. Most of the failed attempts were due to being well over ten yards from the first down marker, but the offense is going to run remarkably more efficient, if not perfect, next week against Navy.


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