Memphis Tigers at SMU Mustangs: The Big Three

This kind of sums up how SMU played on Saturday against the Memphis Tigers. Photo Courtesy: Amy Wagliardo
This kind of sums up how SMU played on Saturday against the Memphis Tigers.
Photo Courtesy: Amy Wagliardo
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By Zach Walker

I like the style of recapping the game the way that I started last season, so once again, the three most pivotal plays from the SMU Mustangs’ game.

A summary of the Memphis game
The phrase: Ass-whooping springs immediately to mind. This game was a three-phase beat-down of the SMU Mustangs by the Memphis Tigers. This game was close for three and a half minutes, after that, the can got opened and never got recycled. The Mustangs were holding better in non-conference losses to Baylor and TCU earlier this year than this game. The most troubling thing in this game was that Memphis attacked what I consider the strength of the SMU defense, the secondary. They were ripping off big plays to start, continue, and finish drives. Ben Hicks looked not good, Braeden West looked not good, but those counting Jamie Sackville had a hell of a game. This game was over at halftime. Bad loss. Tough pill to swallow. Regroup, and reload. (INSERT COMEBACK CLICHÉ HERE)

#1: 1st and 10 from the Memphis 35 yard line. The Mustangs went three and out on their opening possession, and Memphis took two big bites out of the field, in thirty-one and fifty yard increments to score in thirty-eight seconds. The Mustangs’ second drive started better, a Hicks to Courtland Sutton hook-up for twenty-nine yards. Three plays later, this down, the Memphis cornerback, Arthur Maulet scorched unimpeded at the back of Ben Hicks, and the ball got separated from Hicks and Memphis’ Jared Gentry picked up the ball, and with his teammates escorting him, he returned it forty yards. Courtland Sutton tore back through the field, grabbed a facemask when turning to tackle Gentry head-on. Two plays later, Joey Magnifico caught a short pass in the flat and put the Tigers up two scores early in the game.

#2: 3rd and 5 from the Memphis 16 yard line. The Mustangs were starting to put some plays together. On this tenth play of the drive, Ben Hicks found Ke’Mon Freeman shallow in the flat to the right, and he was so alone, he sauntered into the endzone. I couldn’t help conjure a historic quote when I saw Freeman just walking into the endzone, because he was almost caught up to. “Nice catch, Hayes. Don’t ever f*$%ing do it again.” That demeanor of lackadaisical effort followed to the very next play, the kickoff, where Darrell Henderson returned the ball ninety-nine yards, through some pretty poor coverage to shut the door hard on SMU’s thoughts of grasping some momentum back from Memphis.

#3: 3rd and 2 from the SMU 44 yard line. When down twenty-four points, things are right where they’re wanted by one team, and must get jumpstarted by the guys’ losing. No joke, this might have been the single worst play that wasn’t penalty stricken or otherwise, that I’ve watched as an SMU writer. Maybe hyperbolic, but seriously, it is the worst of the Chad Morris era. The Mustangs were in this third and two. Even at this moment, the backs were picking up a low-end average of two yards per carry, with Ke’Mon Freeman averaging a healthy five point four yards per clip. This play was a read-option play where Ben Hicks kept the ball and got swamped, and I’m talking levies breaking and abandoned cars on the road completely erased levels of wiped away. I don’t know what gets more blame for that, Hicks, or the play call, or what, but it was truly uninspiring. The Tigers would take the ball, post-punt, on a ten play ride, for eighty-three yards, in just one minute and forty-six seconds to take the ball and go home with it.