The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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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

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Dropping the ball

New kids on the block Padron, Smith fill in for injured Mitchell
SMU wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has the ball stripped in the first quarter by Houston linebacker Phillip Steward, left, as C.J. Cavness attempts to recover during last weekends game in Houston on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009. BOB LEVEY/ Associated Press
SMU wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has the ball stripped in the first quarter by Houston linebacker Phillip Steward, left, as C.J. Cavness attempts to recover during last weekend’s game in Houston on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009. BOB LEVEY/ Associated Press

SMU wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has the ball stripped in the first quarter by Houston linebacker Phillip Steward, left, as C.J. Cavness attempts to recover during last weekend’s game in Houston on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009. BOB LEVEY/ Associated Press

Despite a 38-15 loss to No. 17 Houston, the Mustangs (3-4, 2-1) still hold a share of the lead in the West division of Conference USA standings. SMU, currently caught in a four-way tie with UTEP, Houston and Tulsa for the top spot, all post 2-1 C-USA records. While SMU has failed to beat a ranked team on the road since 1986, the Mustangs still managed to put up impressive numbers over Houston on both ends of the ball.

With their first conference loss of the season, the Mustangs managed to put up more passing and rushing yards than Houston, but lost the game with three fumbles. For the first time this season, SMU is below .500, losing four of the last five games.

  The SMU defense, with the help of senior linebacker Chase Kennemer and defensive back Chris Banjo held the nation’s leading offense to 233 passing yards, putting the Cougars’ quarterback, Case Keenum, at less than 300 yards for the first time this season. The SMU defense also sacked Keenum four times for a combined loss of 23 yards.

The Cougars’ third possession of the game resulted in the first touchdown after SMU sophomore quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell’s pass to senor wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was fumbled away at midfield. Houston recovered the fumble at the Houston 45 as the Cougars went on to cover 55 yards in 1:38 to put them up 7-0 halfway through the first quarter.

A second SMU turnover, this time caused by a Mitchell fumble on the Houston 1 yard line, led to a 14-0 lead by Houston at the end of the first. On the same play, Mitchell was hit by Houston’s Tyrell Graham, injuring his non-throwing shoulder and potentially sidelining him for the remainder of the season.

  Freshman Kyle Padron made his college debut in the second quarter filling in for Mitchell, but failed to connect in his first drive of his career, forcing Matt Szymanski to punt and give Houston the ball back. Houston climbed ahead to a 17-0 lead with a 22-yard field goal before SMU goton the board mid-way through the second with a 27-yard field goal by Szymanski to put SMU at 17-3.

Padron threw for 141 yards, including one touchdown, but took three sacks. Padron’s longest pass, a 32 reception by Aldrick Robinson in the fourth quarter, lead to the Mustangs’ second touchdown.

Also filling in at quarterback was redshirt freshman Braden Smith. Smith, playing in his second game of the season, was sacked once for a loss of six yards. Smith excelled more at the running game, totaling 68-net yards, including a 25-yard rush in the third quarter for a first down.

SMU, despite totaling more yards than Houston in both the passing and running game, surrendered the third touchdown of the first half with a seven-yard pass from Houston quarterback Case Keenum to wide receiver Patrick Edwards, advancing the score to 24-3.

SMU would get the ball back two more times before time expired with Padron and redshirt freshman Braden Smith sharing time, but failing to connect with SMU receivers.

Sophomore wide receiver Terrance Wilkerson and Sanders both had passes from Padron slip through their hands. Smith tried to improve SMU’s ground game, posting a 16-yard run to the SMU 46 for the team’s sixth first down of the first half.

The Cougars continued to run up the score in the second half, as Tyron Carrier returned a 92-yard kick for a touchdown, giving Houston a 31-3 lead.

 A third fumble, this time by Darius Johnson, was recovered by Houston on the Houston 2-yard line, but fortunately for the Mustangs, the Cougars for the first time of the night could not convert the turnover into a touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, junior running back Shawnbrey McNeal got his first touchdown since TCU, with a 4-yard run up the middle following an 18-yard rush by Padron.

 Down 31-9, Padron struck again, connecting on a 32-yard pass to Robinson for Padron’s first college career touchdown pass. Smith was put in for the two-point conversion but was sacked by two Houston defenders, keeping the score at 31-15.

On the next drive, Sims ran a 6-yard route up the middle for the final score of the game. SMU struggled in their final possession with a series of dropped and incomplete passes and three sacks on Padron. An 18-yard screen pass to sophomore running back Zack Line – with just over one minute remaining – put SMU on the Houston 48, but a last effort deep pass by Padron to Robinson was incomplete, giving Houston their third consecutive win.

 The Mustangs face Tulsa (4-3,2-1) on the road this weekend. Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Skelky Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Okla.

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