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The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU Football Drops First Game of the Season to Memphis, 54-48

The Mustangs fell on the road against Memphis. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

MEMPHIS — In a back-and-forth battle on ABC Prime Time, the Mustangs lost their first game of the season to the Memphis Tigers 54-48 on Saturday night.

The game was filled with excitement both on the field and in the stands as 59,506 fans piled into Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, an American Athletic Conference game attendance record.

The Mustangs are ranked No. 23 in the latest AP Poll. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

SMU was without key wide-receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. who suffered a foot-related injury earlier in the week. Despite the injury, players like freshman Rashee Rice stepped up to make big plays for the team in Roberson’s absence. In the first half, Rice led the team in receiving yards with 99 yards and in the second half, tallied 23 more.

“I thought Rashee played well,” said head coach Sonny Dykes after the game. “I thought Rashee did some good things. He made some competitive plays like we expected him to.”

After a Memphis touchdown was called back just minutes into the game, SMU’s defense was able to stop the Tigers from scoring on a fourth and one at the one-yard line. Shane Buechele and the Mustang’s offense capitalized on the turnover on downs by marching down the field and securing seven with a touchdown pass to Kylen Granson. This was the first of two touchdown catches for the tight end.

Kylen Granson recorded 77 receiving yards against Memphis. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

Memphis kicker, Riley Patterson, was perfect for the Tigers, completing four of his four kicking attempts, which gave his team 18 points. His long for the night was an impressive 50-yard kick. Right before the half, the Tigers charged down the field trying to take the lead going into halftime. SMU’s defense held the Tigers to a field goal in the red zone to bring the Memphis lead to 23-17 going into the half.

Memphis received the ball to start the second half, and SMU’s special teams was unable to stop Antonio Gibson who ran the kick back for a 62 yard touchdown on the first play of the half.

In response, SMU’s offense got the ball down the field and into the red zone. They were faced with a 4th and one on the 11 yard-line and were able to convert to keep the drive alive. Ke’Mon Freeman tightened the score with a touchdown for the Mustangs, making it a 6-point game with 12:46 to play in the third.

The next two SMU drives resulted in punts by quarterback Buechele. He had two impressive punts for SMU on 4th down getting the ball down on the Memphis two-yard-line with both attempts.

SMU football tallied 48 points against the Memphis Tigers. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

Although down by 16 in the 4th quarter, the Mustangs did not give up. They rallied the troops and Freeman had a 68-yard run for a touchdown. Buechele connected with Rice for the 2-point conversion to put the team within two scores. The Mustangs attempted a late 4th quarter comeback, something they have been able to pull off in other games this season, but unfortunately, the Mustangs came up short.

After the game, Coach Dykes was proud of the way his team played but acknowledged the areas that they need to improve on going forward.

“I thought our guys continued to play hard, even when we got down,” said Dykes. “We just couldn’t make enough plays. When you go back and you look at it, other than the kicking game, there was a play here and a play there that if we make them, then it’s a different outcome.”

SMU is now 8-1 this season and ranked No. 23 in the latest AP Poll. They will be back in Ford Stadium on Saturday to face East Carolina, another AAC match-up for the team. The homecoming game will kick off at 11 a.m. CT and will be broadcasted on ESPNU.

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