Time to Circle the Mustangs

Will the Matt Davis era begin for the SMU Mustangs? Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling
Will the Matt Davis era begin for the SMU Mustangs now that their season is lost? Photo Courtesy: Joseph Dowling

By Zach Walker

How’d it go for the Mustangs?
Well… in the small overview, the Mustangs lost again. But the big picture shows something different, they scored as many points (10), as they have in the past three home games. It also likely marked the end of Garrett Krstich at quarterback for the Mustangs. The Texas A&M transfer Matt Davis will likely get the start at Tulsa in two weeks. Also big picture, is that the offensive line is playing much better together, giving up only two sacks, and three negative runs. The Mustangs aren’t featuring the run by any stretch of the imagination, but only three negative runs is such a difference from where they were early in this season. The Mustangs collected three sacks and eight total tackles for loss. Kevin Pope returning to the defensive side of the ball was a great move, 12 solo tackles, a sack, and a pass breakup.

Into the game, the Mustangs defense swamped Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch when he attempted the quarterback keep on fourth and short. The Mustangs next drive stalled and the Mustangs tried their hand at a fake field goal, except it was the worst sort of fake, a fake field goal punt that sailed into the endzone, it was just very poorly executed. The drive for Memphis was promising, but on the ninth play of the drive, Robert Seals sack/stripped Lynch and the ball was recovered by Zach Wood for 17 yards. The Mustangs trickled the ball 15 more yards, and missed the 54-yard field goal as Cody Rademacher barely missed wide right. The Tigers would waste no time putting points on the board with a 54-yard touchdown from Lynch to Phil Mayhue on second down. The Mustangs wouldn’t put anything together, but Memphis would piece together a 14 play, 80 yard drive that would be capped off with a 1 yard Jarvis Cooper touchdown run on fourth down. A horrible three and out by the SMU offense, and the Tigers would extend their lead with a 1-yard touchdown dive by tight end Alan Cross to put Memphis up three touchdowns. But wait, the Mustangs would finally answer, with a 12 play, 75 yard drive that would end with a 1-yard Prescott Line touchdown on fourth down. It seemed that the Mustangs had some life. The Tigers would crush that hope, with a series of plays of 14, 26, and 36 yards to put Memphis back at their three touchdown lead. Needing to push to get back into the game, Krstich pressed too hard towards Shelby Walker and threw the interception to Reggis Ball. The Mustangs wouldn’t give up the touchdown, because of a tackle for loss by Zelt Minor on firdt down then a big sack from Stephon Sanders on second down. So the Tigers would settle for the 37-yard field goal as the half expired.

The opening possession for the Mustangs would begin promising, when the opening kickoff rolled out of bounds, but after a short gain by Line, Darius Joseph was penalized 15 yards for unsportsman-like shenanigans, and Krstich had to press to gain the first down. On the next play of the game there was a miscommunication between Krstich and Stephen Nelson and he threw his second interception of the game. The Tigers would score 10 straight points, before Matt Davis settled in and started to run comfortably and led a field goal drive. The Tigers would score again when second string quarterback Jason Stewart connected with tight end Robby Young for a 29-yard touchdown.

SMU head coach Tom Mason shared his thoughts:

Best and Worst plays of the Game
: On the lone touchdown drive of the day for the Mustangs, Garrett Krstich on third and 8, dropped a dime on Der’rick Thompson, who caught the ball back-shoulder, shielding the ball from Andrew Gaines for 24 yards. Later on that same drive, the offense had an option play to the right, on 4th and 1, Krstich did a quick flip to Prescott Line, who took the ball 12 yards, and was aided at the end of the play by 15 yard penalty for tackle out of bounds.

QB Matt Davis and LB Kevin Pope had their opinions:

WORST: It’s got to be the first interception by Krstich. He double-clutched the ball, as if he didn’t want to throw it, then just threw it anyways. The ball looked like it got away from his hand before he threw it, and didn’t come out quite right.