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

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Mustangs lose to Bears, 59-24

It wasn’t the way June Jones, SMU head coach would have liked to begin the season, but his Mustangs will have to find a way to improve after losing 59-24 to the Baylor Bears Sunday night.

The Mustangs never lead but had a chance late in the second quarter, trailing 14-3, after a 73-yard drive had them on the doorstep of Baylor’s goal line. But on the 13th play of the drive, junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert’s throw to senior wide receiver Darius Johnson was deflected and intercepted by Baylor’s linebacker Eddie Lackey.

The defender returned the interception to the Bears’ 23 yard line, where his offense quickly cashed in. Quarterback Nick Florence found Tevin Reese on a 50-yard touchdown pass, giving their team a 21-3 lead that seemed to take the air away from the Mustangs just before halftime.

Gilbert’s debut for the Mustangs did not go as planned, as he was unable to routinely complete passes, gaining 286 yards along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. 

Baylor added a field goal as the first half expired and SMU found itself down by three touchdowns at the break.

Things went from bad to worse at the start of the third quarter as Johnson received a pass from Gilbert, but fumbled on his way down. Bear’s defensive back Mike Hicks scooped up the loose ball and ran 66 yards for another Baylor touchdown.

Baylor did not give the Mustangs a chance to mount a comeback, scoring three touchdowns in the third period and increasing its lead by 42 points.

SMU was eventually able to respond with a long touchdown throw from Gilbert to wide receiver Der’rikk Thompson from 42 yards away, setting the score at 45-10 after 45 minutes of play.

The Mustangs were able to score on two of their last three drives to end the game, but could not stop the Baylor offense. The Bears gained over 600 yards, 341 coming through the air for Florence to go along with his four touchdown passes. SMU was able to gain 507 yards themselves, but turnovers and mistakes ended any chance of an upset victory for the Mustangs, losing 59-24.

A bright spot for the Mustangs was the return of senior running back Zach Line who helped the Mustangs ground game add 135 yards rushing on 25 carries, along with five catches for another 21 yards. SMU knows if it intends on returning to a third-straight bowl game, it will have to rely heavily on the health and production of Line for the entire season.

The game did not begin well for the Ponies as Baylor was able to take advantage of four penalties on its opening drive and a 6-yard pass from Florence to wide out Lanear Sampson for the 7-0 lead.

SMU attempted to respond with a field goal on the following drive, but Chase Hover’s 43-yard try sailed wide left, showing an ominous sign of things to come for the Mustangs.

Following the miss, Baylor quickly added to their early lead as Florence tossed his second touchdown pass to Jordan Najvar from 6 yards away, creating an even tougher task for the Mustangs going forward.

The Mustangs will have to get off to a better start if they hope to earn their first win of the season Saturday at Ford stadium against Stephen F. Austin at 7:00 p.m.

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