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 travel to Florida to take on UCF

November 15, 2014; Dallas, TX, The SMU Mustangs celebrate a touchdown by defensive end Justin Lawler #99 against the USF Bulls at Ford Stadium. Photo by Vladimir Cherry

Coming off a heartbreaking 14-13 loss to South Florida on Homecoming, SMU (0-9, 0-5 AAC) hits the road to take on Central Florida (6-3, 4-1) on Saturday in one of the Mustangs’ last chances to earn a win this season.

SMU played beatable opponents its previous two games, but beating conference power UCF is tall task. The Knights are not as strong as they were a season ago, when they won the AAC and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl behind quarterback and eventual first-round pick Blake Bortles.

But this year, they win with a strong defense that ranks first in the conference in sacks (27) and interceptions (17), and second in pass yards per game (173.3) and rush yards per game (111.6).

“They have a really solid defense,” SMU Interim Head Coach Tom Mason said. “They’re good; I think they’re giving up 295 (total yards) per game. I’d love to be giving up 295 per game. Anytime you play good defense, you have a chance to win.”

A trio of stars lead the Knights defense. Senior linebacker Terrance Plummer is their leading tackler and has also chipped in 3.5 sacks. Sophomore defensive back Jacoby Glenn leads the AAC with six interceptions, and senior defensive back Jordan Ozerities has picked off four passes.

But defense is not the only think the Knights do well. They score 27.1 points per game (fourth in the AAC) and possess the ball nearly 32 minutes per game, tops in the conference. Sophomore quarterback Justin Holman has done a solid job of replacing Bortles, throwing for 2,009 yards and 16 touchdowns. The Knights also have one of the conference’s best receivers in Breshad Perriman.

“They run a little more spread offense than what Bortles did,” Mason said. “Their quarterback is a little more athletic as far as running with the football. They’re going to be a physical football team; they always have been.”

For SMU, Matt Davis will make his third start at quarterback. He has improved throwing the ball, but has made electric plays with his legs that have helped SMU’s offense become a bigger threat. He has also brought a better deep arm that has helped the Mustangs stretch the field a couple times.

The Mustangs played good defense for three quarters against South Florida, but were gashed when Mike White entered at quarterback and led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, including the game-winner with four seconds left, to seal the win. UCF is a better offense than USF, so SMU will have to force a turnover to slow it down.

“If we get a turnover, we have to make them pay, and if we turn the ball over, we have to force them to kick,” Mason said.

SMU has three games to get in the win column, and even if the Mustangs can’t, Mason has been pleased with his team’s effort in the trying season.

“This team has been amazing as far as not going in the tank and just playing forward,” he said.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 11 a.m. central time and is televised on ESPNews.

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