East Carolina Pirates at SMU Mustangs: The Big Three

Matt Davis started the game well... then things got out of hand. Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling
Matt Davis started the game well… then things got out of hand. Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling

By Zach Walker

The new season of SMU Football, deserves a new, fresher way of recapping the games. Rather than the drooling, boring full recap of a play-by-play, I’m going to highlight three moments in the game that were most crucial to the outcome.

A Summary of the East Carolina Game
Final Score ECU 49 – SMU 23

Unlike last week, the SMU Mustangs came out firing. They scored on their second play from scrimmage and had two touchdowns on their first three drives. The defense looked good, too. Intercepting Blake Kemp twice in the first half and only giving up seven points to the offense under Kemp. Hold on! A switch at quarterback. Dual threat James Summers rolls into the game and it’s just not the same after that. The ground game works, the passing game looks sharper, the play-action has to be respected. But, his effect is felt throughout the entire East Carolina team, because the defense then started to eat the Mustangs’ offense, becoming as aggressive as a bear that’s had their young stripped from them. After SMU made the score 23 to 7, the Pirates would rail off 42 straight, unanswered points, en route to handing SMU their first conference loss of the Chad Morris era.

The Big 3 Observations

#1: Third and thirteen from the SMU 45 yard line: This is the first drive for the Pirates, and after a holding call, which made the down third and thirteen, southpaw quarterback Blake Kemp connected with NFL tight end prospect Bryce Williams over the middle for a 16-yard gain. It’s how the play came to an end that is what really messed the game up. It looked like, to me, that Jonathan Yenga hit the tight end square and legal, maybe a little helmet rich but not like he just used his head, but he was flagged for the targeting penalty. I figured the review would exonerate Yenga, but no, completely subtracted from the game, about four minutes into the game. This would really go on to challenge the defensive depth at linebacker, and really took a leader from SMU’s team.

#2: Third and Eight from the ECU 36 yard line: After a deep incompletion down the left sideline, the Pirates were in an eight yard hole to reach the sticks. Southpaw quarterback Blake Kemp got caught looking over the middle too long and when he released the ball, Kyran Mitchell closed the door and picked the ball off and returned it a few yards to the ECU forty yard line. The next play, Matt Davis threw the ball back to Xavier Jones and then he threw the ball upfield to a wide open Xavier Castille for a walk in touchdown, and a retaking of the lead. At this point: ECU 7 – SMU 13

#3: Second ad Eight from the SMU 33 yard line: As the third quarter closed the Mustangs offense looked absolutely flat, like a picture perfect autumn lake. The first play of the fourth quarter, it wouldn’t perk up. With everything covered up, Matt Davis rolled left and just continued to roll, out of bounds, for a loss of five yards. He had ample time to decide to throw it away and just fight on the third down, but he decided to decrease the offense’s odds of picking up the third down dramatically by gifting the ECU defense five effortless yards. The next play, third and thirteen, Davis was pulled a part again, this time by the combination of Yiannis Bowden and Montese Overton. To capitalize on ineptitude, the Pirates returned the 45-yard punt, 46 yards to the SMU 14 yard line and would score three plays later to blow the doors off the game, with 35 unanswered points. At this point: ECU 42 – SMU 23