Ponies get fired up
Published: Friday, September 10, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 16:11
After a 35-27 loss against Texas Tech last week, SMU is anxious to get back on the field and prove why Mustang nation was so high on this team.
The Mustangs will take on the UAB Blazers in their home-opener as both teams open Conference USA play at Gerald J. Ford Stadium this Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.
In 2009, the Blazers finished with a 5-7 record overall and a 4-4 record in conference play. Last week UAB suffered a 32-31 loss at the hands of Florida Atlantic.
Last year's meeting between SMU and UAB featured a high scoring game that saw the Mustangs prevail 35-33. Both teams have different signal callers under center this year, but are still expected to light up the scoreboard.
Quarterback Kyle Padron started SMU's last six games in 2009, winning five of them, including a bowl game victory. Padron threw for 218 yards and two touchdowns against Texas Tech, but also tossed three detrimental interceptions.
SMU head Coach June Jones said he was "a little disappointed" in Padron's play against the Red Raiders.
Padron was able to find a new favorite target in junior Cole Beasley, who caught five passes for 57 yards and two touchdowns against Texas
Tech. Beasley is replacing SMU's all-time leading wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was selected in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
UAB's new quarterback, sophomore David Isabelle, has big shoes to fill this year. He is replacing Joe Webb who was selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Isabelle impressed in his first career start against Florida Atlantic last week, passing for 79 yards and one touchdown, also rushing for 214 yards and three touchdowns.
The Mustangs were able to find a ground game last week behind running back Zach Line who rushed for a career high 72 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, both teams struggled in their opening games, surrendering over 30 points each.
UAB allowed 347 yards of total offense last week, while SMU allowed 431. Both teams gave up most of those yards in the air.
The Blazers are led by defensive end Bryant Turner, who was the team leader in sacks last year. Turner is picking up right where he left off last season as he recorded two sacks in last week's loss.
The Mustangs are led by defensive back Chris Banjo, who made his presence felt against the Red Raiders. Banjo had 86 tackles and one interception last year.
Special teams may play a big factor in this week's game, and if so, SMU looks to have an advantage after stellar play against Texas Tech.
The Mustangs blocked two field goals, kick returner Darryl Fields had a 92-yard kickoff return, and kicker Matt Szymanski booted a 61-yard field goal.
Szymanski also nailed a 24-yard field goal earlier in the game, and his 61-yard kick was a school record. Szymanski's efforts earned him Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week.
Both teams are hungry to garner their first victory of the year Saturday night, so expect a fierce conference battle under the bright stadium lights.