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


Mustangs burn Blazers to reach 2-0

The SMU football team (2-0, 1-0) accomplished one of its major goals that head coach June Jones set before the season: winning a road game.

While a single road game victory may not seem significant, the Mustangs’ 35-33 over the UAB Blazers (1-1, 1-1) broke a number of streaks that lingered around for the past two seasons.

The win marks the Mustang’s first Conference USA win since 2006, their first road win since 2006, and most importantly, their first 2-0 start since 1996.

After the game, Jones was quick to stress the importance of the victory in Alabama.

“It’s just a big thing for us,” Jones said. “You have to win in your conference on the road, if you ever want to be somebody and that’s what we did today. I’m happy for the kids.”

In the previous game against Stephen F. Austin, the Mustangs forced six turnovers but were unable to capitalize. However, Saturday was a different story for the Mustangs. SMU forced five turnovers against UAB; four interceptions, three of which resulted in touchdowns.

The Mustangs four interceptions give them a total of nine for the year, already topping the entire 2008 mark of eight interceptions.

While the SMU defense gave up 448 total yards to UAB, they were able to create big plays and make big stands when necessary.

UAB quarterback Joe Webb commented how the “defense gave us different looks, different fronts, different coverages. We just didn’t execute on our plays very well.”

The game was marked by continuous swings in momentum and on the scoreboard.

In the first half, the Mustangs were in complete control of the game.  They entered halftime leading 28-7 with sophomore quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell throwing for over 200 yards and three touchdowns.

Coming out of the break, the momentum seemingly shifted to the Blazers as they scored three straight touchdowns to bring the score to 28-27. On the extra point attempt that would tie the game, sophomore defensive end Taylor Thompson broke through and blocked the attempt.

On UAB’s next possession, the Blazers drove down the field again to the SMU six-yard line.  With UAB knocking at the door and threatening to take the lead for the first time in the game, freshman linebacker Taylor Reed intercepted Reed’s pass.

This block would prove to be crucial to the Mustang’s victory. 

After Shawnbrey McNeal scored his second touchdown of the season in the fourth quarter, UAB was able to march right back down the field to score again.

With the score set at 35-33 and only 13 seconds on the clock, UAB was forced to go for two. After a penalty moved UAB within the two yard line, the SMU defense stuffed a run by Webb up the middle to win the game.

On the offensive side of the ball, Saturday marked crucial moment in the progression of Mitchell.

“He grew up a lot today and he made a lot of plays,” said Jones. “In the third and fourth quarter when the momentum was going the other way, he made some big plays. He competed today and I was really happy to see that.”

Mitchell threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his 47 passes.  Many of his passing yards were racked up by senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. He caught nine passes that totaled 148 yards and a touchdown.

Even though most of the excitement came late in the game after SMU had scored the majority of its points, the offense was able to capitalize on UAB turnovers giving the Mustangs a big enough cushion to hold off the late Blazers’ charge.

Next week, the Mustangs will travel to Pullman, Washington to face the Washington State Cougars (0-2, 0-1).

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