SMU Mustangs Start Season with Loss

Neal Burcham was under a lot of pressure from Baylor when he played. Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch
Neal Burcham was under a lot of pressure from the Baylor Bears defense. Photo Courtesy: Matthew Lynch

By Zach Walker

How’d it go for the Mustangs?
It went about as bad as it could have been imagined, and still could have been worse. Had a perfect and innocent hit on Bryce Petty not caused some discomfort, he would have possibly connected on at least three long ball touchdowns. Where Baylor might have really screwed the pooch was with keeping their Heisman hopeful quarterback in the game, and what likely led to his injury was his 5-yard touchdown run, which I thought at time of its happening, was a gratuitous display of toughness by Petty, because his charge wasn’t an untouched, walk-in touchdown, he really had to earn it, but he may end up paying for it later.

Like I said in the preview, the Mustangs weren’t going to be able to keep with the Bears, but Coach June Jones didn’t help his team any by shuffling quarterbacks. Neal Burcham completed 3 of 8 passes before Coach Jones switched to Texas A&M transfer Matt Davis, and to his credit, did complete 3 of 4 passes before the drive deflated with a fumble by Stephen Nelson. The next drive for SMU, Davis escaped initial pressure, could have gotten a yard if he raced out of bounds, but he spun around and headed back into the center of the field and got eaten up by a swarm of Bears.

Both quarterbacks weren’t protected well, and really never had solid footing or time to stand in. In the fourth quarter, SMU rolled their third quarterback into the fire, Kolney Cassel, and I’d say he had something, because he stuck in the pocket and made good throws but it’s still overall a very discouraging game, as originally planned.

The defense for the Mustangs were really put in a bad position early by a fumble and a long punt return, both of which led to touchdowns in the first quarter. Petty’s only long connection went to KD Cannon for 46 yards and a touchdown, but other than that, with the Mustangs having injured Bryce Petty, and it affecting his long ball, the Mustangs defense didn’t seem all that bad, but they weren’t helped at all by the Mustangs’ offense nor the Baylor defense.

Best and Worst Play of the Game
Really the only positive play of the night for the SMU Mustangs, pressure by Stephon Sanders, Zach Wood, and the man who blocked it, Andrew McCleneghen, had their lone highlight, but after review during the fumble scramble following the blocked kick, possession stayed with Baylor, but three plays later, Shock Linwood fumbled into the end zone and it was recovered by SMU for a touchback, karma.

WORST: Of all the sub-par quarterback play by SMU, Matt Davis’ was the worst. He escaped the pocket, good, he was still looking downfield, good, he spotted an option, on the opposite side of the field, don’t do it. He did it, an against the gain rocket throw into the no-no zone for an easy interception for Baylor.