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 football welcomes ECU after unforgettable victory

East Carolina rolls into Dallas coming off a victory, but they face a Mustang team fresh off an improbable win against C—USA preseason favorite UAB that has them full of confidence. The Mustangs upended the Blazers to break a 14-game road losing streak on a play that apparently is going down in Mustang lore as the “Legend at Legion ,” although I prefer the “Bomb in Birmingham.” The ‘Stangs ran their record to 2-4, and they take on a Pirate club that, under first-year Coach Skip Holtz, got their second win of the season last week against the Rice Owls, 41-28.

Key Matchup

SMU’s Passing Attack vs. East Carolina’s Secondary

Jerad Romo answered the critics last week by going 30-43 for 333 yards and directing the Mustangs’ comeback win. Romo looked more confident in the pocket then he did in the previous two losses, when he threw for less then 200 yards total in the two game. Romo is still a threat with his legs, but his ability to beat teams with his arms opens things up for the Ponies. Romo seems to really have established his go-to-guy in Bobby Chase, which makes it even weirder that Chase was in jeopardy of being benched before last week’s heroics.

SMU has now established a plethora of receivers with Chase, Chris Foster, Devin Lowery, Reynaldo Pellerin, Zack Sledge and Blake Warren all having at least three catches against the Blazers. The fact that each excels at different routes gives Romo an array of quality choices depending on the play called.

The confident receiver crew will take on an East Carolina secondary anchored by safety Zach Baker. The Arizona native led the team with five interceptions last season and this year leads the team with three interceptions and is fifth in tackles with 25. Baker anchors a unit that is only giving up 160 yards a game passing, but that stat is skewed because the Pirates have played run first offenses in Rice, Duke, Wake Forrest and West Virginia. At corner, the Pirates have Erode Jean and Travis Williams backing up Demetrius Hodges and Kasey Ross. Jean and Williams were key as SMU focused on the third and fourth corners against the Blazers and took advantage of their inexperience. Williams has graded out at 100 percent the last two weeks, according to Coach Holtz, but he will be tested for the first time when he takes on the rapidly improving Pony passing game.


ECU’s Aundra Allison

The Pirate wide receiver may have two girl’s names, but don’t be confused, because he is all man on the football field. Allison was named the pre-season C—USA newcomer of the year by many publications and has done nothing to lead one to think he won’t win the real award with his play this year.

The JUCO transfer from Georgia Military Academy is averaging 15 yards per catch and 115 yards per game in his first year at Division I. The Kannapolis, N.C. native has found quite a bond with quarterback James Pinkney, as they have hooked up for five touchdowns on the year. SMU must limit the big play ability of Allison to continue its winning ways this Saturday.

SMU’s Joey Sturdivant

Joey Sturdivant is from the Atlanta area, and over 45 friends and family made the trip to Birmingham. He made the trip worthwhile with his huge performance even while hampered by an injury. “He hardly practiced last week with a hip pointer,” Coach Phil Bennett said, “and played a very good game for us with the two interceptions and the fumble recovery.”

Sturdivant is leading the team in tackles and pass breakups with 54 and seven respectively, and garnered C-USA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against UAB. Sturdivant’s instincts were on display on his second interception as he took a read he learned in film and baited UAB’s Darrell Hackney into making a throw that looked open, but led to the interception. Sturdivant must play equally well this weekend, as the Pirates will test the Mustang secondary with multiple receiver sets all day long.

Inside the Pirates

Duel Threat

The Pirates offense goes as far as one man can take them, and so far they seem to be in good hands. James Pinkney is a two-year starter from Delray Beach, FL that possess the arm and the wheels to handle coach Skip Holtz’s wide open spread attack. “I thought James Pickney had his best game of the year,” beamed Holtz. “He is really fitting into this offense. When the passing lane isn’t open, he is tucking the ball and running with it.”

Brooks is averaging 258 yards through the air while throwing for eight touchdowns and chipping in three more scores on the ground. The scary thing for ECU fans is that this season almost didn’t happen, since Pinkney was academically ineligible for last spring semester. Pinkney didn’t get reinstated until Aug. 1, but it took him just three weeks to regain his spot at the top of the depth chart. Now, instead of keeping his own fans up at night wondering if he will be eligible, Pinkney has C-USA defensive coordinators losing sleep trying to devise ways to slow him down.

Inside the Mustangs

The Legend at Legion

Twenty-three seconds, down five, no problem for these Mustangs as the ‘Stangs completed four of four passes on the drive, including the play that will forever go down in Mustang history, the 31-yard bomb that Bobby Chase managed to haul in for the win as time expired. The drive was full of smart plays, as completions from Romo to Chase, DeMyron Martin and Reynaldo Pellerin got the Ponies into position for the final throw, still leaving time on the clock as Martin and Pellerin made sure they got out of bounds to stop the clock. Coach Bennett was proud of the preparation of his coaches and happy for his jubilant players. “Our offensive staff did a good job of having a plan in place of what they wanted to do,” said Bennett. “I can’t remember a time in my 28-year career that players felt that good about something that they had accomplished.” The win was the first ever in Conference USA for the Mustangs and leaves them in the thick of the C-USA Western Division chase, as division favorite UTEP has already suffered a loss.

The Mustangs try to get a winning streak going when it takes on the Pirates at 2 p.m. in Ford Stadium.

Trent Redden is a senior accounting and public policy major. He can be reached at [email protected].

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