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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Ford Stadium massacre

Mustangs set another scoring record in 55-9 win over Arkansas State
SMUs Zach Sledge (No. 84) rolls over Arkansas States Brett Shrable (No. 13) after recovering a mishandled punt for a touchdown during Saturday nights 55-9 victory over the Indians at Ford Stadium.
Christina Parrish
SMU’s Zach Sledge (No. 84) rolls over Arkansas State’s Brett Shrable (No. 13) after recovering a mishandled punt for a touchdown during Saturday night’s 55-9 victory over the Indians at Ford Stadium.

SMU’s Zach Sledge (No. 84) rolls over Arkansas State’s Brett Shrable (No. 13) after recovering a mishandled punt for a touchdown during Saturday night’s 55-9 victory over the Indians at Ford Stadium. (Christina Parrish)

The Mustangs scored only nine points in the first two games of the season but have rebounded by scoring a total of 100 points in the last two games. SMU rolled over Sun Belt champion Arkansas State Saturday, 55-9.

Justin Willis has responded after lack luster performances in the first two games. His play has him fifth in NCAA Quarterback Rating.

Willis, who started the season completing 24 of 35 passes, improved to 33 of 43 against Sam Houston State and Arkansas State. He also threw nine touchdown passes in those games.

Without DeMyron Martin and Johnnie Fitzgerald, some may have expected the running game to drop off, but one of those people was not Justin Rogers, who expected “nothing less than what I saw to be honest. We’re so deep at the running back position its unreal. I thought Mapps played a hell of a game.”

After picking up a hundred yard rushing performance last week from junior Fred Turner, red-shirt freshman James Mapps picked one up against ASU rushing for 132 yards on 14 carries and one touchdown. Senior Cedrick Dorsey also had a fine performance gaining 80 yards on 10 rushes.

Receiver Bobby Chase finally found the end zone this weekend, but it wasn’t Willis who found him. Wide receiver Zach Sledge threw a 75-yard touchdown pass off a trick play. Sledge noted his surprise when he “didn’t see anybody in front of me and I didn’t see anybody behind Bobby, or anywhere around him,” and admitted that it made the play seem too easy.

The most notable performance of the night came from a position that has been overlooked by the offense up to this point in the season, the tight end. Senior Ryan Kennedy came into Saturday’s game with only four receptions and one touchdown. The Arkansas State game turned that all around. While he only caught three passes for 40 yards, Kennedy made the most out of them, finding the end zone each of the three times.

“We said before the season Ryan Kennedy is too good a player. He only caught 14 balls last year. I know as a defensive coach when you defend an offense – when the tight end is a threat – it’s hard as the dickens, and Ryan is too good of a player.”

The other tight end Vincent Chase, however, seems to be forgotten. Chase has only caught one pass, which was against North Texas and for only nine yards. If the Mustangs have two dominant tight ends why aren’t they being used?

Once again, the defense shined for SMU. The Mustang ‘D’ only allowed one touchdown and one field goal. They were even able to keep the Indians in single digits with a blocked extra point by senior Joe Sturdivant.

Senior defensive end Justin Rogers found the quarterback for the first time this season. Displaying a new haircut, Rogers picked up his first three sacks of the season. But Rogers wouldn’t give his hair any credit, “we came out, we practiced hard this week. The coaches did a great job game planning and we came out and played like the ‘Stang Gang.'”

Red-shirt freshman Brian McCann got involved with a turnover prone ASU team, picking up his first career interception and fumble recovery in the game. The defense forced four fumbles and recovered all four of them. The other fumbles were recovered by Sturdivant, Brandon Bonds and Zach Sledge.

Sledge made his mark on the game without even catching a pass. He was part of two of the more interesting plays of the game. The aforementioned touchdown pass to Bobby Chase, and he recovered a muffed punt on the three-yard-line and rolled into the end zone. Sledge spoke of what they are taught on special teams “we don’t fall on the ball we scoop it and score, it’s something that’s taught,” and he carried it out.

The kicking game even got involved with the impressive stats that resulted from the game. Bennett “was tickled for Thomas Morstead on the 50-yard field goal,” which was the first 50-yard field goal since 1997. And senior Ryan Wolcott scored the first two points of his career making the last two extra points of the game.

Bennett sees an improvement “we’ve never been in this situation, we’ve never been 2-2, and to some teams that’s not much, but as I told the team, when you lose your first two you have to fight scratch kick earn respect, its not going to come back automatic.” But even with the recent success Bennett still won’t speak of a bowl game. “We are in a one game a week season,” but he will say that the Mustangs “are a team that if we play like we’re capable of each week we have a chance to win, and that’s our focus.”

The 55 points is the most the Mustangs have scored since defeating Cal State Northridge 58-16 in 1999, and beat last week’s record for most points scored at Ford Stadium.

Ryan Kennedy’s main concern was “opening up the playbook, because we have so many plays we didn’t run the first two games,” and that offense has shined in the last two performances. The offense will need to keep it up moving into conference play against Tulane next week.

Justin Willis (No. 16) and Ben Poynter (No. 66) celebrate after a touchdown during Saturday’s win. (Nick McCarthy)

SMU’s Cedrick Dorsey averaged 8 yards a carry during Saturday night’s game against Arkansas State. (Christina Parrish)

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