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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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Football ends season with loss

The Mustangs’ (3-8, 3-5 WAC) game against No. 24 UTEP (8-2, 6-1 WAC) was a tale of two halves as the Mustangs fell 57-27 to the Miners.

The Mustangs came out well on both sides of the ball. Despite punting on their first offensive series, the Mustang defense held the Miners to a field goal after UTEP drove to the Mustangs’ 5-yard line.

The Mustang offense responded with a six-play, 68-yard touchdown drive completed by Derron Brown’s 2-yard touchdown. After a blocked extra point, the Mustangs led 6-3.

Not to be outdone, the Miners moved down the field back into Mustang territory and added a touchdown of their own. With the extra point the Miners took a 10-6 lead.

Neither team would score the rest of the first quarter, but early in the second quarter, SMU quarterback Tony Eckert connected with wide receiver Chris Foster for a 19-yard Mustang touchdown. With Chris McMurtray’s extra point, the Mustangs regained their lead, 13-10.

On the Miners’ next offensive series, UTEP quarterback Jordan Palmer’s pass was picked off by defensive back Rolando Humphrey.

The Mustang offense took advantage of the interception and Romo constructed his second touchdown drive with a 49-yard pass to Reynaldo Pellerin. The nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive put the Mustangs up 19-10. With the extra point, the Mustangs took a 20-10 lead with 7:24 left in the half.

After the Mustangs’ touchdown, UTEP would start a scoring streak that would not end until the fourth quarter.

The first of 45 unanswered Miner points came with 4:02 left in the second quarter when Palmer threw his first touchdown pass of the day. The completion to Casey Mauch combined with the extra point put UTEP back within three, 20-17.

After the Mustangs punted, the Miners scored again, riding Palmer’s arm to another touchdown. The touchdown came on a 21-yard pass to Chris Marrow. After the extra point, the Miners took a 24-20 lead that would hold until the end of the first half.

The second half turned into a scorefest for the Miners as they scored 28 points in the third quarter alone.

The first of the four touchdowns in the third quarter came on another Palmer pass. This time, he completed a pass to Johnnie Lee Higgins from 5 yards out. UTEP’s extra point put them up 31-20.

On the kickoff, the Miners successfully recovered an onside kick and used it to accumulate another seven points.

Palmer hit Higgins again, this time from 45 yards out, to put the Miners up 37-20. The extra point put the Miners ahead 38-20.

On the Mustangs’ next drive, Romo’s pass was intercepted and returned 43 yards for another Miner touchdown. The extra point put the Miners up 45-20.

After another Mustang punt, the Miners offense took to the field again and scored another touchdown. Boosted by Howard Jackson’s 55-yard rush up the sideline, Palmer completed yet another touchdown pass, this time to Jayson Boyd. With the touchdown and extra point, the Miners extended their lead to 32 points, 52-20.

The Miners’ 28-point bombardment came in less than five minutes.

In the fourth quarter, the Miners added a field goal to increase their lead to 35.

The Mustangs responded with another touchdown, but it came too late. The touchdown came when Romo rushed 9 yards into the end zone. With the extra point, the Mustangs narrowed the Miners’ lead to 28, 55-27.

The Miners got their final points late in the game when Romo was sacked in the end zone for a Miner safety. With the safety, the Miners took a 57-27 lead that would hold until the conclusion of the game.

UTEP quarterback Palmer, the younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, had a career night. Palmer completed 20-of-27 passes for 339 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.

Boosted by a 55-yard rush, Jackson led UTEP rushers with 17 rushes for 99 yards.

With the win, UTEP extended its winning streak to seven games. The Miners finish their season Saturday against the Nevada Wolf Pack in Reno.

On offense, the Mustangs finished with 356 yards of total offense compared with UTEP’s 528.

Romo, who played most of the game after Eckert left with a concussion, finished 14-of-20 with 158 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was also sacked five times.

Dorsey led the ground attack with eight runs for 58 yards.

The Mustangs finished the season with a 3-8 overall record and 3-5 conference record.

After the move to Conference USA over the summer, the Mustangs will kickoff the 2005 season against Baylor on Sept. 3.

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