It can no longer be permitted to write off the importance of Garrett Gilbert to the SMU Mustangs’ offense.
Sure, when he first arrived there was doubt. Of course, after an unsuccessful first year there was uncertainty.
After the past three games, all of that should be history. In those three games, Gilbert has thrown for 1343 yards (an SMU record) with 11 touchdowns and only one interception.
He has also rushed for 160 yards with four touchdowns. So for those keeping track at home, Gilbert accounted for nearly half of that entire yardage Saturday against Temple University.
“The last couple of games, Rutgers and this one, Garrett has played extremely well,” Head Coach June Jones said. “He has really come into his own. I told him as we were leaving the field that I couldn’t be more proud of him. He’s battled through so much stuff and has just outworked everybody. He’s now very comfortable in what we’re doing. He’s competing and he gives us a tremendous advantage.”
Against the Owls, Gilbert led an improbable comeback in front of a rowdy but tiny crowd at Ford Stadium.
Temple jumped ahead of the Mustangs early and led SMU 28-14 at halftime.
Many saw the two possession deficit and thought the game was over. Who could blame them?
The Mustangs looked incompetent; fumbles seemed to be the staple of every promising drive.
It appeared as if Temple was going to run the Mustangs out of the stadium. Gilbert was having none of that.
“I am really proud of our guys. Obviously we’d love to not get down 28-7, which I think was in the first quarter, but our team has a never say die attitude and we just continued to fight all afternoon long,” Gilbert said. “We got that big score before half and then were able to turn on the jets in the second half. Heck of a game by us all the way around. We just continued to fight, get ourselves back in the game and then exploded there in the second half.”
He finished the afternoon with a career high 538 passing yards with four touchdowns and 97 rushing yards with two more scores. It was Gilbert’s sixth 300-yard game of the season, the eighth of his career and his seventh at SMU.
His four passing touchdowns mark the fourth straight multi-TD game and give him a total of 15 on the season (ninth at SMU for single season).
Gilbert completed 37 passes, giving him an SMU career total of 513 which ranks third at SMU all time. With the big yardage he has piled up the last few weeks, Gilbert now sits at fourth all time in total offense at SMU with 6136 yards.
“Obviously in the second half we weren’t able to hang in there; Gilbert’s a tremendous quarterback and we saw what he did in the end of the game against Rutgers and they scored the same amount of points,” Temple Head Coach Matt Rhule said. “We really just couldn’t hang in there.”
The emergence of Gilbert over the past three games provided SMU with a legitimate field general behind center. It’s safe to expect similar performances from the ex-Texas player over the course of the rest of