Mustangs 4-5 after loss to UCF, Line surpasses rushing record
Published: Sunday, November 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
The Mustangs suffered another setback on the team’s quest to become bowl eligible Saturday, and fell to the University of Central Florida (UCF)Golden Knights 42-17 in Orlando.
The Golden Knight offense, led by quarterback Blake Bortles and tailback Latavius Murray, put up almost 400 yards in the rout of the Mustangs.
Garrett Gilbert, who was riding high into the game against UCF after a stellar performance at home against Conference USA ne’er-do-well opponent Memphis, was brought painfully back to reality as the UCF defense held him to 133 yards — a 55 percent completion percentage, and no passing touchdowns on the day.
However, Gilbert did had one rushing touchdown, and so did running back Zach Line. Line, who became a major contributor to the stalled Mustang offense, chalked up 96 yards in 21 carries and outgained Reggie Dupard, a great SMU tailback from the 1980s, in all-time yards.
Special teams also seemed to fall upon hard times. Punt returner Kenneth Acker muffed a punt in the second quarter, which led to a UCF Murray touchdown.
Penalties were an issue for the Mustangs, who gave up seven for 53 yards.This loss was a bad one for the Mustangs hopes of bowl eligibility this season.
A bowl game at the end of this season would mark head coach June Jones’ fourth appearance in a row in bowl games with the Mustangs.
Despite the lackluster performance in Florida, the Mustangs chances of making it to a bowl this year look very promising. The Mustangs currently sit in second place in Conference USA,behind Tulsa, who is undefeated in Conference USA play.
The Mustangs have three games left to play: two against cupcake squads and the regular season finale versus Tulsa at home.
Winning any two of the next three games would ensure bowl eligibility. With a little luck and a win against Tulsa, SMU could win the Western Division and play for a Conference USA title. The road to recovery begins next week at home against University of Southern Mississippi — a team that has yet to win a conference game all season.
The Golden Eagles are outgained in nearly every statistic by its opponents, and should, barring a complete meltdown by SMU, be an easily defeated opponent.