The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Mustangs denied bowl game

Mustangs running back Prescott Line (#29) is tackled while running the ball. Line had eight carries for 28 yards total in Saturday’s game.Photo credit: Ryan Miller.


The final game of the SMU Mustangs 2013 season (5-7 overall, 4-4 in the American Athletic Conference) was a cold-hearted 17-13 loss to the conference’s best team, the University of Central Florida Knights (11-1 overall, 8-0 in AAC), and a lost opportunity for a fifth-consecutive bowl bid.

After taking a 10-3 halftime lead into the locker room, the Mustangs were held down for the last 30 minutes of the game on a frozen Ford Stadium while UCF’s quarterback Blake Bortles began to find the groove that he’s used all season on the way to an automatic BCS bowl game.

SMU was able to force a fumble on the Knights’ first possession of the third quarter, but was forced to punt shortly after. UCF quickly marched down the field on an 8-play drive that spanned 66 yards, culminating in a Bortles score that tied the game up.

Following the touchdown, SMU was able to move within field goal range that Chase Hover nailed from 39 yards out to give the Mustangs the last lead it’d have this season.

Bortles once again called his own number on the next UCF possession. Using a 15-yard scramble up the left sideline, he was able to outrun several SMU defenders and dive over the pylon for the Knights’ first lead of the game, and what would eventually prove to be the final margin.

In what may very well be his last possible regular season game as a Knight, Bortles had more than 270 yards in the ice and the two
rushing touchdowns.

The Mustangs had several chances to respond in the final frame, but were unable to convert any of their three fourth-down attempts, despite the strong efforts of quarterback Neal Burcham.

When senior Garrett Gilbert was ruled out of the game, Burcham was once again called upon to help SMU get to the promised land.

The redshirt first-year played admirably, throwing 24 completions on 34 attempts for 222 yards and a touchdown to Keenan Holman in the second quarter. He was also aided by a solid rushing attack led by running back and linebacker Kevin Pope’s 50 yards on
eight carries.

Despite the offensive attack, the Mustangs were unable to answer the Knights when they needed it the most and fell to their first losing record in the regular season since 2008.

SMU went on to fall by a 4-point margin and miss a postseason bid, but there were many opportunities that were lost earlier this season, including a terrible fourth quarter against rival Texas Christian University and an overall poor performance versus Rutgers University.

This coming offseason will be a tough one for a team that had lofty expectations against what some called a fairly weak conference schedule.

Head Coach June Jones and his staff will have to work hard in determining who will officially replace Gilbert, Jeremy Johnson and several of the other seniors that have by all accounts changed the mindset of SMU football.

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