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5 thoughts on SMU vs Baylor

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1) Matt Davis’ half-ending mistake killed SMU. Davis had a strong first half, completing his first eight passes, including two touchdowns to wide receiver Cortland Sutton. His accuracy was a question coming into the season, but his throws were on-point. However, he left points on the field in the second quarter. SMU had third and goal at Baylor’s 11-yard line after starting a drive at the Bears’ 33. Davis scrambled out of the pocket, but three Baylor defenders followed and sacked him with 11 seconds to go in the half. SMU was out of timeouts, so the clock expired before the Mustangs could run another play. Davis needed to throw the ball away, but took the bad sack.

2) SMU’s secondary struggled against Baylor’s receivers. This isn’t that surprising, since Baylor has the best group of receivers in the country in my opinion. But Horace Richardson especially struggled, getting beat by Corey Coleman a handful of times. SMU put in Will Jeanlys and David Johnson, who managed to neutralize the Bears’ for a little bit, holding Baylor to one total yard in the second quarter. But, it wouldn’t last. Ajee Montes took a poor angle and missed a tackle on Coleman on a short curl route. Coleman proceeded to take it 57 yards for the touchdown that put the game away late in the third quarter.

3) SMU’s offensive line has progressed. This was a huge problem for SMU, but the line came out and held its own early on. It got some push in the run game and mostly kept Davis upright. It gave up three sacks, two of which were not true pocket-collapsing sacks because they came on scrambles where Davis lost yards. Defensive tackle Andrew Billings had his way at times, but SMU successfully double-teamed him at times too. During the second half, Baylor’s endurance showed, and the Bears won the line of scrimmage, especially in the run. Davis had to leave the pocket earlier than he would have liked. Left guard Daniel McCarty left in the first half with an injury and was replaced with Braylon Hyder. Hyder is stronger but not as quick or polished with his feet.

4) SMU needed to capitalize on early Baylor mistakes. In the first quarter, SMU couldn’t haul-in a tipped pass when Baylor was inside the 30. In the second quarter, SMU linebacker Jonathan Yenga missed a tackle on a free rush at quarterback Seth Russell. The same drive had two more tipped passes and a fumble that didn’t result in an SMU takeaway. In fairness, an SMU defender had a realistic chance to get only two of the tipped passes, but those are the lucky bounces that needed to go SMU’s way. SMU safety Darrion Richardson intercepted Russell to give SMU a short field late in the second quarter that they did not take advantage of. To win a game of this magnitude, takeaways are necessary.

5) Baylor’s offensive line wore SMU out in the second half. The Bears have one of college football’s best offensive lines, and it showed tonight. SMU’s defensive line held its own early, but by the second half, Baylor was getting consistent push on its power runs and running the ball down SMU’s throat. Big 400-pound (!!!) tight end LaQuan McGowan swallowed up SMU defensive ends all night. The commitment to the run set up what I felt was the game-sealing score. Up 14 in the middle of the third quarter, Baylor ran the ball on five of its first six plays of the drive. Baylor rolled out a package play next (run blocking scheme but pass play). Baylor’s left guard pulled while quarterback Seth Russell faked a handoff that drew in safety Jordan Wyatt. Russell then had a 1-on-1 with Jay Lee on David Johnson and threw a beautiful back-shoulder pass to Lee. Lee slowed up at the perfect time, caught it, and took it the rest of the way for a 41-yard score.

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