Sonny Dykes’ squad came to play Saturday in Fort Worth, knocking off the 25th ranked TCU Horned Frogs in convincing fashion. SMU won the game 41-38 after stalling TCU’s comeback late in the 4th quarter.
The Mustangs opened the game with a 56 yard scoring drive capped off with a 4 yard touchdown run by Shane Buechele in less than two minutes to give SMU the early advantage. SMU controlled most of the game from that point forward; never relinquishing the lead at any point throughout the game.
Honestly, I debated whether or not to call this an upset in the title of the article because at face value yes it was an unranked G5 team beating a ranked Big 12 team on the road but the Mustangs were up 31-17 at halftime. I know they only ended up winning by 3 points but SMU was clearly better than TCU on Saturday. SMU led wire to wire after scoring 1 minute and 18 seconds into the game.
SMU’s rushing attack was mostly held in check by the strong TCU front seven who only allowed 118 rushing yards to the Mustangs. However, SMU was still able to positively affect the game on the ground with Xavier Jones, Shane Buechele, and Ke’Mon Freeman all recording touchdowns.
Shane Buechele showed adequate efficiency against one of the best defenses that SMU will play all year going 23/34 for 288 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. The SMU receiving corps. played very well with 4 players recording 4 or more receptions on the day. Impact receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. totaled 122 yards on just 4 receptions while James Proche impressed with 10 receptions for 66 yards and 1 TD. Xavier Jones also caught 4 balls and scored 1 TD through the air totaling 93 all purpose yards and 2 total TDs.
After scoring early and forcing TCU to play from behind for much of the game, SMU was able to dictate the game offensively allowing balanced play calling all day.
TCU was able to move the ball well at times on the ground with explosive plays from Darius Anderson who totaled 161 yards and 2 TDs on 19 carries. TCU rolled up 236 rushing yards but no players on offense really had any big impact on the game other than Anderson. Max Duggan improved from his performance against Purdue in week 3, though he still did not do enough against a very good SMU defense to hang with the Mustangs. Duggan recorded 3 TDs through the air but struggled with efficiency throughout the game going 16/36 with only 188 yards passing.
Credit to SMU for keeping the pressure on Max Duggan all game. Though the Mustangs gave up almost 250 yards on the ground, this SMU defense impressed with a number of important stops especially late in the fourth quarter.
The most impressive stat of the game was that SMU was able to force 6 fumbles throughout the game recovering 3 of them. The SMU defense was able to disrupt TCU QB Max Duggan the whole game causing him to fumble 3 times with SMU recovering two of those fumbles. The SMU Defense had 6 players record 5 or more total tackles on the day showing how well they play as a unit.
Stud safety Patrick Nelson is now tied for 4th nationally in total sacks which is very impressive for a safety. Only one other player in the top 40 in the country in recorded sacks is a secondary player. Nelson’s versatility for this SMU defense is pretty impressive and will continue to be important going forward.
SMU opened a lot of eyes this week on a national scale after beating Gary Patterson’s TCU team in Fort Worth. Sustained success this season will depend on the defense’s ability to stop opposing offensive passing attacks.
SMU’s defense consistently pressures opposing QB’s well. SMU is tied for 7th nationally in total team sacks with 15.0 through week 4. This is not a call out of the secondary by any means, SMU’s secondary is adequate but will be tested multiple times once the get into their AAC Schedule with trips to Memphis and Houston just to name two future challenges for this unit. However, if the defense continues to play well the Mustangs will contend for the division title in a deep AAC West.
SMU missed out on the Top 25 this week but they received 55 votes in the AP Poll meaning those around the college football world are starting to really respect this SMU team. For reference, Memphis received 42 votes and Tulane received 1 vote in the AP rankings.
We will see how things shake out once SMU starts AAC conference play but at this point in the season it seems like SMU is moving from interesting dark horse to formidable contender in the AAC pretty quickly.
#ClubTakeAway was open for bottle service again this week on the SMU sideline with all the turnovers. Follow smufb on insta.
SMU opens conference play next Saturday @USF