SMU Mid-Season Report

Just like the SMU faithful, Peruna is looking forward to better days on the gridiron. Photo Courtesy: Amy Wagllardo
Just like the SMU faithful, Peruna is looking forward to better days on the gridiron. Photo Courtesy: Amy Wagllardo

By Zach Walker

How’d it go for the Mustangs against the Bearcats?
This game against the Bearcats was a proving ground, to prove that the hiccup for the Mustangs was that epic non-conference schedule to start the season, but the Mustangs showed that the hiccup was their inspired performance against the then #22 ranked East Carolina.

Mid-Season Report: 0-6
But as far as coaching this SMU team going into the future, I have a nutty idea. Hire John Garrett. The brother of Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett, the current offensive coordinator of the Oregon State Beavers, where he’s helping to increase the draft stock of quarterback Sean Mannion (a dark horse in the draft). His offense is very basic; damn strong running game; solid blocking; pro-style, play-action quarterback play; and score the points and run the game away from the other team. But here’s why I think that the Garrett possibility would work. Not because of his own NFL coaching experience, but because his brother is the big dog in town. Recruits could really envision playing in the NFL, because of who their coach is, and who his brother is. John Garrett isn’t getting this consideration just because of how the Cowboys are going, but he has, and is currently is putting in the work at the collegiate level to garner some consideration for the SMU job.

Coach Mason shares his thoughts after the Bearcats game:

Here is starting quarterback Garrett Krstich with his thoughts:

As far as the game just played, how’d it go? *Sigh… it didn’t go great. On the second play for Cincinnati, Gunner Kiel dialed up Chris Moore for a 46-yard touchdown and it seemed like a back-breaking start, but the review on the play ruled the play an incomplete. The Bearcats would score on their opening drive, but miss the extra point and leave some meat on the bone. Unlike any other game this season, the Mustangs would get it going on their first drive. An epic 16 play drive, Krstich found Nate Halverson for two big gainers. The Mustangs peppered in some power back runs and some timely Krstich scrambles. In the redzone, on 4th and goal from the half yard line, the Mustangs called a sweep for Kevin Pope who took it in for a touchdown, but a holding penalty ripped the touchdown from under their cleats, having to settle for a field goal. The next Bearcats possession was a quick first down, then a near interception by Shakiel Randolph, and then on third and 4, Shaq Washington straight dropped a pass, so maybe this game was going to be different. A third down conversion to Der’rick Thompson, and another strike to Halverson had a drive brewing, but the next throw down the seam towards Thompson was intercepted, in a “leave-it-on-the-field,” fight with gravity, epic full-body interception by Howard Wilder.

The Bearcats would only get a field goal, but they drove 75 yards in ten plays. The Mustangs had another solid drive brewing, starting with a great 8 yard, stiff arm run by Prescott Line and another Halverson catch for a first down. On third and 11, a pass down the seam to Stephen Nelson for 21 yards, and then three straight uninspiring plays from just on the Cincinnati side of the field led to a Jackson Koonce punt. The Bearcats would breakout the Wildcat quarterback Jarred Evans to score a 7-yard touchdown, to make it 15-3 game, far from impossible to get back into this game.

But the next three and a half minutes would be a will breaking series of events. Two incompletions, taking no time off of the clock, then a catch from Cedric Lancaster would drain some, but the Bearcats would drain blood from SMU. Kiel found Casey Gladney for 48-yards down to the SMU 8 yard line, after a penalty, moving the ball back 15 yards, Kiel found Johnny Holton for the 23-yard touchdown. The game wasn’t broken at that point, but the next SMU possession would break the game. After a pass to Prescott Line for 4 yards, Krstich escaped Jeff Luc’s grasp again, but Luc would pursue Krstich and get his, stripping the ball and the ball bounced to linebacker Nick Temple, who would take the recovery to the house from 22 yards out, to kick the door off its hinges and blow the game wide open for the Bearcats.

And at that point, the game was 28 to 3, and the Mustangs had been scored on twice in under 45 seconds. And SMU wouldn’t score again, and there isn’t a whole lot else to spotlight for the Mustangs, no need to beat a dying horse, or in this case “Pony”.

The Mustangs have a quick turnaround against Memphis, and hopefully can shake off this game.

Best and Worst plays of the Game:
: On the first drive for SMU, on a first down, Garrett Krstich was being taken to the ground by linebacker Jeff Luc, and after being spun around completely and still in the arms of Luc, Garrett Krstich just winged the ball towards Darius Joseph, who made the catch, behind the line of scrimmage, shed the would-be tackle Grant Coleman, and took the pass for nine yards. It was an epic play, and should have set the tone for the offense.

WORST: On SMU’s ninth drive, down 31-3, following a bad punt by Cincinnati, the Mustangs had the ball at midfield. On play-action, Krstich was hit as he threw the ball, and was intercepted by Andre Jones. Nothing strange about that. WRONG! The cornerback, Linden Stephens, covering Darius Joseph held Joseph back, had a laundry-load amount of Joseph’s jersey, opening the door for Jones to pick the ball. The refs either over-looked the hold, or just blew it, but they blew it.