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

My quest to learn the musical instrument struck a chord much greater than the beautiful sound of a perfect stroke.
I decided to learn the guitar, but I walked away learning more about life
Bella Edmondson, Staff Editor • June 19, 2024
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Breaking down SMU at Southern Miss

Breaking down SMU at Southern Miss

Run offenseDSMU fell back into bad habits in the run game. Quarterback Justin Willis gained 85 yards on the ground, making him the leading rusher for the Mustangs. The next highest rusher was running back James Mapps with 51 yards on 8 carries. DeMyron Martin only had 22 yards on the night. It’s been said in this space before, and we’ll say it again now: SMU cannot have an effective offense if its leading rusher is Willis. The run game had been improving, but took a giant step back this game with the low yardage and two fumbles in the first half.

Pass offenseD-The Mustangs were on their first drive of the night and made it into Southern Miss territory when Willis threw his first of two interceptions on the night. Those turnovers along with the fumbles forced SMU to emphasize the passing game. Willis spread the ball amongst his receivers for 191 yards passing, but SMU stalled when it came close to or got in the red zone – scoring once in the three times they were inside the 20. In a game where the defense kept it manageable, the high-octane offense failed to produce.

Run defenseC-Southern Miss was able to control the pace of the game through its consistency in running the ball. Three of the Golden Eagles’ scores came on runs of 19, 7 and 3 yards in the red zone. Considering SMU spent the bulk of its bye week revamping the linebacking corps, this was a disappointment. Southern Miss racked up 209 yards running, with running back Damion Fletcher going for more than 100 on the night.

Pass defenseCSouthern Miss was able to throw for 206 yards Saturday. Can we say balance in the offense? Four receivers had at least three catches or more. The Golden Eagles got their first and only touchdown through the air on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Stephen Reaves, who threw four interceptions last week against Rice. But the SMU secondary was only able to get one pick and wasn’t able to be the game changer they needed to be since the offense was stalling out.

Special TeamsD+Thomas Morstead was a draft worthy kicker/punter at the start of the season. Early on he did nothing to disappoint. But since having a punt blocked at TCU, he has been a shell of his former self. The self-destruction continued Saturday with two missed field goals from 52 and 36 yards. This is with the missed field goal and a botched snap from the UTEP game. Normally this is where a special teams coach could come in and help Morstead out of his funk. But SMU doesn’t have one. So Morstead is going to have to help himself – and no one knows how long that could take.

CoachesFIn what might be the most telling sign of where the team is at this point, CSTV cameras captured offensive coordinator Rusty Burns brushing off head coach Phil Bennett when he tried to talk to him on the sideline. Willis was visibly upset when Bennett told him that the team would not go for it on a fourth down and SMU was down 21-0. What can Bennett do to keep this team together for the final half of the season? If the Southern Miss game was representative, then it’s already beginning to fall apart.

OverallD-One got the impression that SMU was never really in this game. Even in the past losses, SMU still seemingly had a chance. That never happened against Southern Miss. Disturbingly, the season is only half over and all hope is lost. SMU is now 0-2 in conference play and 1-5 on the season. There is no sign this team is going to rally and make the second half at least bearable to watch. One of the two games SMU has a chance of winning is this coming Saturday vs. Tulane. But will anyone be at Ford Stadium to watch it?

Previous Games OverallTexas Tech – DNorth Texas – BArkansas State – FTCU – C-UTEP – D

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