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

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Mustangs outgunned by Tech

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell evades a tackle from SMUs Cory Muse. Harrell was able to evade the Mustangs defense all afternoon as he threw for 419 yards and four touchdowns.
John Schreiber
Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell evades a tackle from SMU’s Cory Muse. Harrell was able to evade the Mustangs’ defense all afternoon as he threw for 419 yards and four touchdowns.

Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell evades a tackle from SMU’s Cory Muse. Harrell was able to evade the Mustangs’ defense all afternoon as he threw for 419 yards and four touchdowns. (John Schreiber)

Oversized, overmatched and overwhelmed: three words that only begin to describe the fallout of Monday’s loss against Texas Tech, 49-9. The Mustangs were never able to get into a solid offensive rhythm and the defense was as ineffective as the offense.

Things were bad from the beginning. The Red Raiders returned the opening kickoff to the 49-yard line and showed that they could pick apart the SMU secondary. Seven pass completions and a one-yard run by Tech quarterback Graham Harrell later, the Mustangs were down, – a situation that the SMU offense could never escape from.

However, there was an early glimmer of hope. Jessie Henderson returned the Raiders’ opening kickoff 46 yards to the 49-yard line. But the Mustangs could only muster a field goal, another fact that would haunt SMU throughout the game.

But with the first half winding down, the Mustangs still appeared to be in the game, only down 14-6. But with just two seconds left, the Red Raiders struck the crushing blow of a one-yard touchdown pass to go into the break leading 21-6.

“In the second half when it got to be 21-6, and on the first drive we got the ball back, we went three and out. I think we got off kilter offensively,” head coach Phil Bennett said.

And it would remain that way as the Mustangs managed only one more field goal, which came in the fourth quarter.

But failings weren’t only on offense. The young SMU defense was unable to stop the traditionally potent Red Raider offense. Harrell showed the ability to pick apart the secondary of SMU and complete key passes in crucial situations. Harrell completed the game going 44-59 with 419 yards, nearing Tech records for completions in a game.

But the stat most daunting to the SMU defense was the third-down efficiency of the Red Raiders, converting on 10 of 15 attempts.

“I was disappointed in the first half, the biggest thing we couldn’t get them off the field on third down,” Bennett said.

The Red Raiders scored a touchdown on seven of their 12 possessions and were forced to punt only four times.

The Mustangs converted only four of 15 third-down attempts.

“It kills me because I know we can do better than that,” SMU quarterback Justin Willis said.

Willis played one of his worst games since the Texas Tech game last season. But he wasn’t the only one who was not playing to potential. Several passes were dropped and many running plays went absolutely nowhere. The Mustangs ended the night with just 270 total offense yards.

Despite the shortcomings, the young SMU defense gained experience against an extremely tough opponent. Standing out was Ryan Leonard, who in his first game had four tackles, one for a 12-yard loss and forced a fumble. Will Bonilla and Chris Parham also had tackles for losses for the Mustangs. But the biggest defensive player was David Haynes who accumulated 14 tackles and a pass break-up.

The best thing that can come out of this game is that SMU wasn’t expected to win. Sure, they would have wanted a better showing, but now they can move on.

“I told them before the game, obviously I thought we would play better, win, lose or tie. We’ve got to get it out of our system tonight,” Bennett said.

Hopefully for the Mustangs, it is already out of their system as North Texas comes into Ford Stadium on Saturday night.

Jessie Henderson was one of the bright spots for the Mustangs. Henderson returned 4 kickoffs for 128 yards. (John Schreiber)

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