Mustangs’ comeback falls short in triple-overtime, 55-52

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Jeremy Johnson (15) had a career-high 18 catches 217 yards and three touch downs in Saturday's loss. (Courtesy of Douglas Fejer)
After a 21-point comeback and three heart-pounding overtimes, including five touchdowns in the extra periods alone, the SMU Mustangs (1-4 overall, 0-1 in American Athletic Conference) fall to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, 55-52.

Following a Justin Goodwin touchdown run late in the third quarter to put the Knights up 35-14, the game looked out of reach for SMU. That was when Garrett Gilbert and Jeremy Johnson went to work, scoring 21 unanswered points to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Gilbert had an incredible day passing, as the senior totaled an SMU-record 484 yards through the air, five passing touchdowns and another two rushing scores in the extra frames.

His most impressive drive came when the Mustangs were down eight with two and a half minutes and 65 yards to go, throwing two passes to both Darius Joseph and Johnson. The senior receiver did the rest of the work himself, taking a 13-yard crossing pattern to the end zone.

Still down, the Mustangs were forced to go for two, and the two playmakers in the game made the play as dramatic as possible as Gilbert scrambled all the way to the right side of the field before lobbing a prayer to the left corner where Johnson made a remarkable catch and tied the score at 35-35.

Johnson had an incredible game, catching 18 of Gilbert’s 45 completions for 217 yards and three scores.

Both teams traded touchdowns in the first two frames, but it was a touchdown run by Rutgers’ Justin Goodwin that sealed the win for the Knights and left SMU winless in its first ever attempt against an AAC opponent.

While SMU will certainly be frustrated with the loss, the Mustangs showed the fight of a team ready to enter into conference play and compete for a bowl game.

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