The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Mustangs deliver shutout

SMU defeated Stephen F. Austin University in its first home game of the year 52-0.
Sidney Holliingsworth/The Daily Campus
SMU defeated Stephen F. Austin University in its first home game of the year 52-0.

SMU defeated Stephen F. Austin University in its first home game of the year 52-0. (Sidney Holliingsworth/The Daily Campus)

The SMU football team cruised to a 52-0 win over Stephen F. Austin (SFA) on Saturday night in its home opener to earn its first win of the season after the SMU defense forced 10 turnovers and senior running back Zach Line ran for two scores.

“It was exciting to watch our defense take the ball away so many times,” SMU head coach June Jones said. “We talked about, talked about it, and talked about it and had we not done that, we might have struggled tonight.”

Junior cornerback Kenneth Acker intercepted two passes and scored two touchdowns by way of a blocked field goal by senior lineman Aaron Davis and an interception return for a touchdown.

In all, SMU’s defense forced six interceptions and four fumbles, but also gave up 428 yards to SFA. The Mustangs defense capitalized on the turnovers by returning four turnovers for touchdowns.

The 52-0 shutout marked the first home shutout since a 34-0 win versus UT-Arlington on Oct. 1, 1983. SMU has won six of its last seven home games dating back to last season.

The final score was a little deceiving as the SMU offense only managed 328 total yards. SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert went 19-for-36 for 205 yards and threw one touchdown to junior receiver Keenan Holman.

Line picked up the offense by scoring the game’s first two touchdowns. Line finished with 61 yards rushing and caught four passes for 39 yards.

“I was glad Zach kind of picked us up through that stretch,” Jones said. “He has the ability to do that.”

After SMU’s offense only gained nine yards on its first three possessions, the game’s complexion changed when senior defensive end Margus Hunt blocked a field goal for the ninth time in his career, an NCAA record.

“We couldn’t get it going offensively,” Hunt said. “But when the opportunity came to go out and block that kick, we knew exactly what they were going to run, and the play worked.”

SMU held some of its key players out of the game due to concerns about injury. Senior receiver Darius Johnson was held out due to a concussion and left tackle Ben Gottschalk was out with a shoulder injury.

Gilbert was inconsistent throughout the game, but is still adjusting to Jones’ run and shoot offense after being out of football for a year. With SMU facing Texas A&M next weekend at home, the team will have to step up even more if it does not want another Baylor-like performance.

“We’re not good enough around him yet, I don’t think. We played without a lot of people,” Jones said. “He’s going to get better and better. We have to help him out more. I have to help him more. But I like what I see from him.”

SFA outgained SMU 466 to 328 and SFA had 11 more first downs than the Mustangs. SFA had 100 offensive plays compared to SMU’s 70, but even though the SMU offense was shaky, it did enough with all the opportunities given to them by the defense.

“It’s good to win. Period,” Jones said.

“We’re not where we need to be exactly, but a win is a win and in this business, they’re hard to get.”

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