Kyle Padron- In a pseudo panic move last week in Houston, June Jones rotated freshman quarterbacks Smith and Kyle Padron into the game after Bo Levi Mitchell banged his shoulder. After the game, Jones felt comfortable in the thought of Bo Levi Mitchell coming back for the start against Tulsa. When that prediction faded, Kyle Pardon was handed his first start in his college career. Padron did everything but wilt, going 20-30 for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns with, and this is the best part, no interceptions. Even after being sacked four times, Padron showed a level of comfort in his first game that fans would hope from a red-shirt senior. For the first time this season, watching the Mustangs passing offense gave a strong theme of a Hawaiian Jones past, as opposed to a transitory passing dynamo under construction for a productive 2010.
Pass Rush- Just like Case Keenum last week in Houston, SMU kept Tulsa's passing game in a nervous unease. SMU had four sacks, two interceptions, and contained Tulsa inside 216 yards in the air. The Mustangs also had a crucial deflection on a Tulsa Fourth down in the final quarter, which resulted in a touchdown to lock the game up for good.
Bowl Chances- Long story short, The Conference USA can send six teams to bowl games, with a chance to send a seventh to the Eagle Bank Bowl if Army is not bowl eligible at the end of the season, which seems likely. SMU need to have at least six wins at the end of the season, and be in the top six of the conference in order to solidify their first bowl berth since the 80's. After the win in Tulsa, SMU is tie with Houston for first place in the West. SMU, Houston, and ECU are the only three teams in conference with one loss. SMU beat ECU for their only loss.
First Half Offense- SMU's offense stalled the first two possessions by fumbling the ball, and had to punt six out of the remaining seven drives of the half. Although the Mustangs have figured out a solid method for keeping the other team from catching the SMU passes, they have traded it for more conservative passing and poor ball handling. It does seem better for there to be punts over interceptions, but the lack of first half scoring may have been easy to overcome against Tulsa, but it was that lack of aggression that got them beat in Houston.
Rushing Attack- It may come across as being selfish; wanting both the running game and the passing game to perform at high caliber, but 1.8 yards a carry is the type of performance that shows future opponents the advantage of bringing five guys out in the secondary, because McNeal is no longer a threat.
Tulsa's Third Down Conversion Rate- It's hard to complain about SMU going on the road and taking another conference win. That being said, it was nice to see that after having a third down conversion rate of less than 20 percent over the last few weeks, it was nice to see a 3 for 15 conversion rate on the other side.