Mustangs back in form
Strong offensive effort returns SMU to .500 record
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
SMU got back to .500 on the season by beating the Southern Miss. Golden Eagles 34-6 at Ford Stadium Saturday. Garrett Gilbert led the way for the Mustangs with 343 total yards and three touchdowns including two on the ground.
The surprise of the game was Virginia Tech transfer Austin Fuller, who got his first start of the season and finished with seven catches for 59 yards on the day. Fuller, who found out on Thursday that he was going to start was glad he was able to come in and contribute.
“We wanted to be a little more physical in there and he caught the ball and competed. He blocked well on the runs and the screens so that was good,” SMU Head Coach June Jones said.
Gilbert has had six rushing touchdowns in the last three weeks so teams are having to pay more attention to his ability to take the ball and run when plays break down. Gilbert had a 34-yard touchdown run and a 19-yard touchdown run Saturday.
“The last couple weeks he’s done a pretty good job scrambling out of the pocket plus running. He’s a pretty good athlete and he knows when they’re about to get him,” Jones said.
SMU running back Zach Line had a great start to the game and gave the Mustangs a physical edge with 92 yards on 22 carries and added a touchdown as well.
“Taking away Zach is a tough thing to do and even with all the slants and things they tried to do he was still able to create some space for himself,” Gilbert said.
The SMU defense had two turnovers on the day with interceptions by Jeremy Gray and Margus Hunt. The Mustangs entered the game tied with Kent State with 30 turnovers on the season.
Special teams got into the fun as well with a blocked point after touchdown (PAT) by senior lineman Aaron Davis, his second blocked kick in the season.
SMU’s defense had stand-out performances by Hunt and senior linebacker Taylor Reed. The SMU defense held Southern Miss. to 178 total yards on the day and did not allow a touchdown after giving up 42 points to University of Central Florida the week before.
Reed had 1.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and eight tackles on the day. Reed and Hunt, who had a sack, tackle for loss and three tackles on the day, helped the Mustangs limit the Golden Eagles to just 51 yards rushing. The Golden Eagles had been averaging over 150 yards rushing going into the game.
Even though the Mustangs settled for two Chase Hover field goals when the offense struggled in the redzone, SMU was able to easily beat Southern Miss. and remain in contention for the West Division title.
Tulsa won this past weekend as well so the Mustangs must continue their winning ways to have a shot at unseating Tulsa from the top of the division in two weeks when the Hurricanes come to Dallas.
SMU faces Rice on the road this coming weekend with a shot at becoming bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.