By Zach Walker
These are the three most pivotal plays/situations from the SMU Mustangs’ game.
A summary of the North Texas game: The Mean Green came down from Denton and out of the gate, looked like they brought a force with them. After they went up ten to nothing, the Mustangs would adjust and not allow another score until well into the third quarter. Ben Hicks looked good, but he looked exceptionally crisp on third downs. Courtland Sutton looked/looks/is a beast. Four scores for Sutton. The Mustangs’ defense looked like they got some lead out. Mikial Onu looks to be a strong, strong safety. Kyran Mitchell is a monster off the edge, and then some. The Mustangs didn’t have the run game going the way that I’m sure they’d have wanted, but they hardly forced the issue in the first half at all, attempting only fourteen rushes. This game, minus the rushing futility, is the gauge of how things can go for the Mustangs this season. Maybe not next week, versus TCU, but against the tough American conference, looking as rounded as they did Saturday is a solid step. A LOT of the North Texas points were scored when the game was past due.
#1: No Down, ball at the SMU 35 Yard Line: The Mustangs had just scored, a huge catch and run by Courtland Sutton on a third down and eight, where he snagged a good pass from Ben Hicks, shucked off the would-be tackle from Mean Green safety Khairi Muhammad and tore off for a sixty-two yard touchdown. The Mustangs had to have points on the possession, they were in big time thirst for something, and they got it. However, North Texas would play right into the growing momentum of the Mustangs by attempting a reverse on the kickoff. Why? I know that if that had worked, it’d have been… better? The Mean Green started at their own nine yard line, and the Mustangs’ defense would force a punt, of which they slightly blocked, and scored a field goal off of the solid field position and tied the ball game at ten a side. Score after this play: UNT 10 – SMU 10
#2: 3rd and 13, from the North Texas 40 Yard Line: By this point in the tilt, it had evolved into a football game. The Mustangs forced the Mean Green off the field with a fourth down stop. The Mean Green would pick Ben Hicks off, after a communication breakdown between him and Courtland Sutton on a second down pass. The Mustangs forced a punt then took off on a drive. The Mustangs’ offense would get themselves into these really nerve-racking third and long situations, then Ben Hicks would throw them out of the fire, connecting with Trey Quinn and James Proche for thirteen yard completions on consecutive third down opportunities. This third down try was a ballsy call. They were sitting with the ball on the forty, so it’s a REAL dicey move to trot the kicker out for a college 50+ yarder, so this play was pretty pivotal. Instead of a crosser, or an out to any of the underneath stuff, Hicks goes and rifles a dime down the right sideline for a pretty nicely covered Courtland Sutton, who just catches the pass as if it weren’t really an issue that there were opponents or anything like that going on. It looked like catching a Nerf, while jumping into a pool. Hicks to Sutton, pretty darn killer combo. Score after this play: UNT 10 – SMU 17
#3: 4th and 3, from the SMU 32 Yard Line: The half is just seconds old, the eyes are still burned with the image of what the North Texas band was wearing (Ogre would have gone CRAZY), and on third down, Ben Hicks threw towards Sutton, and it went incomplete. The drive to start the half, not a total loss to punt. On the punt, the usual operation, Sackville doing his lefty kick, and the punt coverers getting extremely close to drawing another catch interference penalty. However, the Mean Green return man, Turner Smiley would go to the ground first before catching it, and muff the punt, and the Mustangs would recover the ball at the Mean Green thirty-six yard line. Advantage would be taken, as Ben Hicks would find Courtland Sutton for their fourth touchdown connection of the game. Score after this play: UNT 10 – SMU 31
My various game scribblings: (Actual ramblings, just transferred to digital)
Fair catch interference. I hate when they do that, I’m sick of that, seen it TOO many times covering this team…
(At 11 Minutes left in 1st) UNT is coming out firing, SMU better get an answer quick.
Courtland Sutton. Can make a solid pass into a great play.
Reverse on the kickoff? WHY?
SMU 90 (Yards Offense) – UNT 95 (Yards Offense) when SMU tied it at 10.
Hicks to Sutton. Money.
True freshman (#6 Elijah McQueen) with a sweet pick on third down.
#18 (WR – Trey Quinn) solid as heck.
(DT – Demerick) Gary’s pick was excellent, Andy Flusche’s (UNT DE #99) was HOSS as hell (It got overturned, I don’t care, sweet play)
I find the lack of Braeden West (SMU RB #6) disturbing… (No snaps as of 5 minutes left in third)
Justin Lawler (SMU DE #99), very good defensive player, just a nose for the ball.
Safety. Don’t get those every game. (Holy crap, full disclosure, I completely forgot the safety team gets the ball after the safety)
Six ticks left in the third, fourth and five, down by 23 points. Feels like the ball game for UNT.
Xavier Jones (SMU RB #5) with the dagger…
Okay, now the Mustangs’ defense is just taking shots at Mason Fine (UNT QB #6)
Following the Cedric Lancaster (SMU CB #3) injury, no Ben Hicks on offense, no Courtland either. But, D.J. Gillins to Myron Gailliard for a 70+ yard score to get that 50 point boarding.