There are beatdowns. There are annihilations. There are shellackings. And then there’s what happened at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas on Saturday afternoon.
Fresh off blanking Temple in a 55-0 shutout on the road, SMU refused to remove its foot from gas pedal. In their final season holding AAC membership, the Mustangs obliterated yet another conference opponent, humiliating Tulsa in a 69-10 result. The 59-point victory was SMU’s largest over an FBS team in program history.
If the game wasn’t over by the first quarter when SMU ballooned its lead to 28-3, it was certainly over by halftime. The Mustangs collected more than half a century on the scoreboard through 30 minutes of action, throwing Tulsa into a 52-3 ditch at halftime. That lead eventually expanded to as great as 66-3 in the third quarter before the Golden Hurricane notched a touchdown with the third-strings in.
The 59-point margin between the teams was the fourth-greatest in the FBS this year, and SMU also holds the fifth-place spot for last Friday’s Temple game. Also, 69 points was the second-most scored in an FBS vs. FBS game this year, only trailing Oklahoma’s 73 points registered on Arkansas State. As a lopsided result to this degree would suggest, Mustangs out-gained the Golden Hurricane, 446-124 in the yardage department and averaged 9.4 yards per play.
Quarterback Preston Stone called it an afternoon before halftime. The first-year starter posted back-to-back 300-yard games for the first time in his career, setting a new personal best with 341 yards in the blowout. Stone delivered three touchdowns in the victory, including a 74-yard deep ball to Romello Brinson in the first minute of action. He also airmailed a ball down the sideline to tight end RJ Maryland for a 62-yard score and concluded the day with a 17-yard strike to Moochie Dixon.
As usual, it was a concerted by the SMU receiving group as 13 different players caught a pass and no player hauled in more than four. When factoring in the contributions of backup quarterbacks Kevin Jennings and Alex Padilla, the Mustangs finished with 446 passing yards on the day, absolutely running laps around Tulsa which only managed 123.
The rushing attack was just as potent in Dallas. SMU totaled 192 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, led by Camar Wheaton’s 80 yards and two scores on nine attempts. Wheaton broke free on a 48-yard run with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter to hit 66 points, cementing SMU’s final touchdown of a highly-prosperous day.
Defense pulled their weight as well, posting five sacks and two first half interceptions Saturday. The Mustangs wound up forcing six three-and-outs and only allowed Tulsa to enter SMU territory once in the 52-3 first half. Isaiah Nwokobia was among the top performers from the free safety position, tying for the team-lead in tackles while securing his first interception since 2021.
After losing its second-straight game by over 30 points, Tulsa is now 3-5 in year one of the Kevin Wilson era. On the flip-side, SMU is now bowl eligible for the fifth-consecutive year. Led by second-year head coach Rhett Lashlee, the Mustangs ride a 4-game win streak in AAC play, boasting a 6-2 overall and 4-0 conference record. Before departing to the ACC for the 2024 season, SMU aims to finish out its final year of AAC membership with its first conference championship appearance. In order to do that, the red-hot Mustangs must run through Rice, North Texas, Memphis, and Navy to conclude the season.