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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Football: unlucky, bad or both?

SMU wide receiver Zack Sledge (right) tries to pull in a touchdown pass past Memphis LaKeitharun Ford (left) during the teams season closer in Memphis on Saturday.
Mark Norris
SMU wide receiver Zack Sledge (right) tries to pull in a touchdown pass past Memphis’ LaKeitharun Ford (left) during the teams season closer in Memphis on Saturday.

SMU wide receiver Zack Sledge (right) tries to pull in a touchdown pass past Memphis’ LaKeitharun Ford (left) during the teams season closer in Memphis on Saturday. (Mark Norris)

The Mustangs finished the season the way the rest of the season played out: losing, and not getting the lucky bounce.

Against the University of Central Florida on Nov. 17, the Mustangs were overmatched.

The game was over from the beginning, literally.

UCF’s Khymest Williams took the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and the Knights never looked back.

“We just had some guys that had not been on the kickoff coverage,” former head coach Phil Bennett said. “We had a guy break his hand before the play even started.”

UCF ran a formation not seen by the Mustangs from any other conference opponent. The Knights lined up with two tight ends and established a power running game.

The two tight ends UCF used outweighed all the members of SMU’s defensive line, and did not allow the Mustangs to utilize the one advantage they have on the line, their speed.

The Mustangs were still able to keep the game close. But with two minutes left in the first half, SMU began to fall further behind.

An interception with 2:08 remaining in the second quarter led to a UCF touchdown, increasing its halftime lead to 35-13.

Then on SMU’s first drive of the second half, Justin Willis threw another interception that was returned 72 yards for another UCF touchdown, putting the game out of reach.

“Once again the turnover bug, one touchdown on an interception, another one set up by the interception,” Bennett said. “You have to keep the ball away from a team like this.”

The Mustangs couldn’t and lost the game 49-20.

The Mustangs’ effort against Memphis on Nov. 24 returned better results, but not a better outcome.

SMU and Memphis fought back and forth throughout the game.

The Mustangs took an early lead driving 72 yards on their first drive of the game to take a seven-point lead. But the Tigers came back scoring back-to-back touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead.

The two teams would trade touchdowns until the end of the first half when SMU took a chance and was rewarded. A 26-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders with seven seconds left in the second quarter giving SMU a 35-28 lead going into halftime.

The trend would continue into the second half. Neither team ever held more than a seven-point lead at any point during the game.

The Mustangs tied the game at 42 with 4:43 left. Memphis had one final attempt to win the game in regulation when Matt Reagan lined up for a 32-yard field goal with 31 seconds left. The kick went wide right and the game went into overtime.

In the first overtime, the Mustangs got a 20-yard field goal from Thomas Morstead, and the SMU defense was able to hold Memphis to a field goal attempt.

But right before Memphis snapped the ball, the Mustangs called a timeout. The kicker then proceeded to miss that kick, which would have given SMU the win, but it didn’t count.

The timeout was not called to freeze the kicker according to Bennett, but to line up in a formation that had worked to block the attempt. On the official try, Reagan made the kick and the game went into its second overtime.

Memphis had the ball first and was forced to settle for a field goal. But a running into the kicker penalty gave Memphis a first down and another chance. The Tigers used that chance to score a touchdown.

The Mustangs responded with a touchdown of their own, forcing the game into triple overtime.

The Mustangs had the ball first and had fourth down and goal from the Memphis two-yard line. Bennett decided to go for it because of depleted defense due to fatigue and injuries.

Willis rushed around the right side for no gain and all the Tigers would need was a 32-yard field goal to win the game 55-52.

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