What a game. If you missed my game preview, I said that SMU would go with Ben Hicks to start the game and SMU would lose 38-23. I was terribly wrong on both ends. William Brown got his first collegiate start and SMU somehow pulled out a win against a very good Navy team. Usually, I like to tell my game recaps like a story. But, after trying to formulate the story, I think it would be better to tell you the crucial details of this game instead of giving you whiplash.
William Brown had a great collegiate start.
I was so impressed with the poise of this young quarterback. He stood in the pocket, delivered the ball with confidence, and was able to run when needed. He went 21-29 for 150 yards and two touchdown passes. While he was only able to rush for eight yards, and did lose a fumble once, he has the ability to escape the pocket. At the end of the day, he got his first win as a quarterback and proved that he is going to be successful in this conference.
Reggie Roberson has emerged as another receiving threat.
I would say Reggie Roberson is the winner for the day. He returned a 98 yard kickoff for a touchdown to help SMU immediately regain the lead in the third quarter. While Proche was still the leader of the wide receiver group, Roberson still caught four passes for 38 yards with a long of 20 yards. I could easily see him emerge as the number two to Proche, as he is electric with the ball in his hands.
Braeden West is the new leader of the running backs.
Xavier Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman both had 0 carries. Braeden West has been that good at running back. West had 26 carries for 146 yards and broke a long one for 46 yards. He also has become great in the passing game by getting six catches for 40 yards. That’s a total of 186 yards that really helped the offense get going. I think West will be a bigger factor of Brown continues to start at quarterback because West will have to help Brown out by running the ball efficiently.
Kevin Kane called his best game defensively and proved to the rest of the league that they can play defense.
SMU can play defense. Look, they’re not an Alabama or even close to a top defense in the AAC. However, they played solid defense against a tough Navy team. Kane’s defensive unit got pressure on the quarterback and constantly was in the back field making blowing up plays. They were able to force two fumbles ad recover them both. This defense played some tough teams earlier, so this is much closer to what we will see from them than how they were playing against those Top 25 teams.
The Overtime period period showed me two other things
The QB competition is far from over and the red-shirt rule may be a deciding factor.
The most interesting part of overtime was the fact that SMU went to Ben Hicks over William Brown. I was shocked to see this, but can understand why Dykes opted for veteran leadership during a crucial moment. Hicks led SMU to the promise land by going 2-2 before the two point conversion, and then completing the game winning two point conversion pass to Hunter Thedford. The point being that the quarterback competition is back and I think Ben Hicks now has the advantage.
Hicks should have the advantage for one main reason: the red-shirt rule. Now that Brown has been available for four games, and has gotten some invaluable experience, it might be the time to go to Hicks. To me, Brown has proven that he is the quarterback of the future. Additionally, because of the history SMU has had with Hicks, he might have a little longer of a leash than anticipated. However you slice it, SMU has a quarterback dilemma on its hands once again.
Sonny Dykes play calling during the OT period was absolutely exceptional.
He was gutsy going for two and made decisions with confidence in his team. This is the moment we will look back at if SMU can continue to turn around their season.