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.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

SMU needs to turn season around

SMU running back James Mapps (right) tries to slip past Southern Mississippi defensive end Matthew Chatelain (left) during Saturdays game in Hattiesburg, Miss.
Stuart Palley
SMU running back James Mapps (right) tries to slip past Southern Mississippi defensive end Matthew Chatelain (left) during Saturday’s game in Hattiesburg, Miss.

SMU running back James Mapps (right) tries to slip past Southern Mississippi defensive end Matthew Chatelain (left) during Saturday’s game in Hattiesburg, Miss. (Stuart Palley)

The Mustangs return home this week after their fourth straight loss of the season, on the brink of missing a bowl game for the 19th season in a row.

But even in such a bad situation, Saturday’s opponent knows what it feels like. The Tulane Green Wave come into the game with an identical 1-5 overall record and an 0-2 Conference USA record.

SMU needs to use this game to get back on track this season. Following this weekend’s game, the Mustangs travel to Tulsa and Houston for tough road games. This is a chance for SMU to get things going at home before going on the road.

The Mustangs will have to play better in every aspect of the game to get this job done.

The offense needs to hold on to the ball and put points on the board. It was expected that the defense would have a off-year because of key losses in the line and in the secondary, but the offense should have made up for that. So far, this season, it hasn’t.

When the defense has been able to keep SMU in games, the offense has stalled and not been able to get into the end zone. With just nine points against Texas Tech and seven against both TCU and Southern Miss, the Mustangs can’t expect to win games without scoring points.

That being said, the defense also needs to play better. The killer drive against Southern Miss was the final drive of the first half for the Golden Eagles. They got the ball with about five minutes left in the half and drove down the field for a touchdown.

The only response SMU could muster was a missed 52-yard field goal attempt. In order to give the offense a chance, the Mustangs’ defense needs to keep Tulane’s offense off the field and keep them out of the end zone.

The one aspect of this team that was supposed to be solid coming into the season, but hasn’t been so lately, is special teams.

The Thomas Morstead’s leg and Jessie Henderson’s run-back abilities were supposed to be crucial to the team’s success.

This weekend the opposition might solve one of the problems. Henderson has had success returning kicks against the Green Wave. Two seasons ago and last season, Henderson returned kickoffs for touchdowns. Last year’s return was crucial to the Mustangs’ win.

There has never been a more consistent kicker at SMU than Morstead when it comes to extra points and punts. And up until the last two games, that list included field goals.

A missed field goal against UTEP and two against Southern Miss are very uncharacteristic of Morstead’s ability. In a game featuring two struggling teams, it may just come down to a field goal or two, and the Mustangs should have the advantage with Morstead if he can get back on track.

SMU will face two quarterbacks against Tulane. Sophomore starter Anthony Scelfo will still get the start for the Green Wave, but first year Kevin Moore will also get playing time according to Tulane head coach Bob Toledo.

The Mustangs will have only one man behind center: Justin Willis, who came into this season with a lot of pressure on his shoulders to lead this team to a bowl game. So far Willis has spent more time on the turf and scrambling from defenders. This could be the game in which SMU gets its passing offense in shape.

Tulane starts a young secondary and with all the weapons at receiver, the Mustangs should be able to exploit it.

Kickoff has been moved to 7 p.m. Saturday at Ford Stadium because the game will be aired on Fox Sports Southwest.

SMU defensive back Jonathan Lindley (left) tries to tackle Southern Mississippi’s Chris Johnson (right) during Saturday night’s game in Hattiesburg, Miss. (Stuart Palley)

More to Discover