James Madison Dukes Defeat the SMU Mustangs

The Mustangs faithful cheered on their team despite coming up short against James Madison. Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling
The Mustang faithful cheered on their team despite coming up short against James Madison.
Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling

By Zach Walker

The new season of SMU Mustangs 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 James Madison Game: Final Score – James Madison 48 – SMU 45
This one is gonna sting for a few days. After looking tough against the third ranked TCU Horned Frogs, the Mustangs hosted the Dukes. An FCS club, albeit, a then ninth ranked in the nation of 1-AA, but a team that shouldn’t beat an up-start like SMU. Beat them they would, however. The Dukes, used their dukes and ran right over the Mustangs’ defense to a final tally of 440 rushing yards. At points when they were running, is was as though the Mustangs were playing a man short on the play, because they just kept cracking off great runs. Credit where credit earned it, the entire offense was just so water-tight in their blocking, the linemen, the tight ends, the receivers, when they engaged, there would be no divorce. The quarterback, Vad Lee, was masterful, despite three interceptions, he was just so difficult bring down. He rushed for 276 yards off of just twenty clips, he was electric. On the other side, the Mustangs just didn’t seem into the game until sometime in the second quarter. They were flat, and seemingly uninterested in the game out of the gate. The offensive line was getting picked apart, and gave up three first half sacks on third downs. The game got interesting late, with an impressive surge but they just couldn’t stop Lee when they had to. Shades of USF, just ripping the guts out with a final, dagger drive that was like a tank versus a pile of dirty clothes, just inevitable.

#1: Third and Seven at the Dukes 42 yard line: Up to this point in the game, the Dukes have slugged the Mustangs on third down. This is what the Mustangs had done up to this third down: Sacked three times for a total loss of 28 yards, a no gain rush, a pass to Courtland Sutton for 14 yards, and a seven yard rush by Xavier Jones. So, having established that the Mustangs were getting pushed around on third down, Matt Davis decided to take off from around left tackle and in front of the Dukes’ sideline. Davis cuts back towards the rest of the field and is met by Andrew Ankrah, and Davis coughs up the rock at the 25 yard line. As football goes, however, the Mustangs were in position on the next play to intercept a lackadaisical Vad Lee throw. The Mustangs would get in the endzone, with only 28 seconds left in the half, to cut the Dukes’ lead to just a field goal.

#2: Ball at the 35 yard line, Four minutes left in the game: After a fantastic four yard touchdown dive by Matt Davis, the Mustangs were down only three points with four minutes left in the game. Strangely enough, Coach Morris sent in Michael Armstrong, his second kicker, to kick off. Well, not really. Armstrong hit the ball perfectly, and the ball went as perfectly ten yards as possible, and as the James Madison player leaned in to recover the ball, Derek Longoria hit him perfectly in the shoulder as to move him from the ball, and A.J. Justice recovered the ball for the Mustangs, and they would score to take their first lead of the game, with just over two minutes left in the game.

#3: First and Ten from the SMU 17 yard line, with 35 seconds left: Vad Lee was absolutely deadly, and again, he turned the knife. After taking the snap, Lee had some pretty solid time to find a receiver. He floated a perfect pass to John Miller, towards the back left corner of the endzone, where it was either him or a drop, and his hands wouldn’t fail. Miller brought in the 17 yard touchdown pass, and moved the score to what it would be at the final whistle, James Madison 48, SMU 45.