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SMU puts up a great fight against ranked TCU but loses a 56-36 shootout

The score was not indicative of how well SMU actually played

NCAA Football: SMU at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

American conference look out! Although SMU did not prevail yesterday in their 56-36 defeat, they were holding their own throughout the entire contest. If I was a TCU fan, I would’ve been worried all the way up to the last quarter.

I think we made it clear, even through a loss, that the American Conference is one to be feared by all. Let’s go further in depth, and then I’ll add some takeaways from the game.

First Half

The Mustangs were dominant in the first quarter. On their first drive, Ben Hicks threw a 58-yard touchdown pass on a flea-flicker to Trey Quinn for the first points of the game. When TCU responded with a touchdown of their own, SMU responded with a short drive and more trickery. The drive ended up with a Ke’mon Freeman rushing touchdown. TCU’s next possession resulted in a fumble, and SMU capitalized (partially) by getting three points.

The second quarter started off well, but ended very poorly. The Mustangs recovered a fumble and got three points again, courtesy of a Josh Williams field goal. TCU fans were probably thinking they were going to lose as the Mustangs led 19-7 in the middle of the second quarter. During the last seven minutes of the half, TCU scored three straight times to take the lead, including the brutal Hail Mary where SMU defenders looked like fans watching instead of defending. At the end of the half, TCU started to distance themselves with a score of 28-22.

Second Half

The third quarter was a stalemate, full of miscues not capitalized on. TCU started where they left off by scoring a TD in the opening drive making it a 35-22 game. Each team failed to capitalize on a TCU fumble and an SMU missed FG. With a little over two minutes left in the quarter, SMU’s Ke’mon Freeman broke off an explosive 34-yard rushing touchdown bringing the score back to 35-29.

The last quarter was the difference maker. SMU put up a great fight, but TCU finally wore down the SMU defense with two straight scoring drives. After it seemed like TCU separated themselves enough, the offense fell apart too. After the touchdown drive at the end of the third quarter, Ben Hicks threw a pick-six to make the score 56-29. SMU would get one more touchdown courtesy of a 61-yard touchdown pass from Hicks to Proche. After that, no further scoring occurred and Hicks was intercepted to end any kind of comeback that might’ve been mounted.

Takeaways

  1. The offense showed up as expected. Although many thought the game would be much worse for SMU, they really showed up to play. Hicks actually had a good day throwing for 305 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was able to find a bunch of different receivers. It seemed like TCU wasn’t prepared for, and probably underestimated, how good this offense is. The offense is primed for conference play where there are no lack of points scored and where the defenses won’t be as strong as TCU’s.
  2. Cortland Sutton needs to show up better than he did before. TCU kept him from being a factor. Sutton had one catch for zero, yes you read that right, zero yards. That is simply unacceptable for someone who has the talent to be a future first round draft pick.
  3. Ke’mon Freeman is the leading running back now. Freeman carried the load, and showed great explosiveness from a rushing perspective. Freeman had 12 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns. I would expect him to get the rest of the load for the year.