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


Can Mustangs repeat success against Aggies?

It’s amazing what one game can do for a team and school’s confidence; this was proven by the buzz on the Hilltop following the Mustangs’ 21-10 victory over the then No. 22 Texas Christian University Horned Frogs last weekend.

The win put the Mustangs at .500 in September for the first time in the Phil Bennett-era, and it was the Ponies’ first win over a ranked team since 1986, when they defeated the Baylor Bears 27-21. Saturday’s game in College Station will be the first time Phil Bennett faces his alma mater as a head coach.

Key Match-Up

Reggie McNeal vs. SMU’s Linebackers

To spy or not to spy – that is the question. Bennett and his defensive coaches face the dilemma of how to contend with a one-of-a-kind athlete in Reggie McNeal, and it might come down to assigning a single player to him at all times. In that role, fans could see Alvin Nnabuife, who seems to have the size and speed to stay with the man who will be the all time leader in total offense at A&M by the end of the year. The 6-foot-2-inch McNeal is the nation’s only returning 220-yard passer and 50 yards per game rusher, and he will utilize his speed to get out of harm’s way when protection breaks down.

If SMU chooses not to spy with the veteran Nnabuife, the job of containing McNeal falls to the entire linebacking core. D.D. Lee has been the leader of the unit this year with 16 tackles, a sack and an interception in just two games.

Wilton McCray has nine tackles on the year, tied with Nnabuife, who has also contributed an interception. The key for these three will be to keep the spectacular McNeal from making the big play. If the trio of talented Mustangs can do this, the team may have a chance to shock the college football world for the second week in a row.


SMU’s Jamey Harper

The safety from Atlanta, Texas is four-year starter for the Mustangs and is, in some regards, the same player Mustang fans are used to seeing. It’s what he added to his game that has people buzzing.

At times in the past, Harper has been taken for granted because he consistently did his job, finishing in the top four in tackles for the Mustangs each of the last two seasons. The Conference USA Player of the Week has continued making hits all over the field (he is fourth on the team with 11 tackles this season), but Harper is second in the nation in interceptions with a team-leading three.

Harper has also made big plays once the ball got in his hands; his average return on interceptions is 16.7 yards with a long of 36. Harper’s solid play has helped the Mustangs to the No. 8 pass defense in the country, and the team has five interceptions already – one less then the six they had all of last year.

Texas A&M’s Jason Carter

The Clemson Tigers are still having nightmares about the Aggies’ jack-of-all-trades they played two weeks ago. That tends to happen when a player sets up two short scoring drives with kick returns that take the ball near midfield.

For good measure, Carter also caught three balls, rushed four times and even threw a pass on a trick play just for kicks. The senior from Caldwell, Texas is the only player in Big 12 Conference history to have at least one pass, catch, rushing attempt and kick return in three consecutive seasons. The wide out is part of a receiving core that includes four former high school quarterbacks. The key to containing Carter will be to locate him, regardless of where he lines up on the field, and ensure that someone speedy enough to stay with him is near.

Inside the Mustangs

Who is that guy?

To answer the question that seems to have been on the minds of every Mustang fan, his name is DeMyron Martin, and he is a red-shirt freshman from Allen, Texas. Bennett didn’t play him in the first game, and he mentioned in his post-game press conference that he immediately regretted it.

The Ford Stadium crowd found out why when the Mustangs played against the Frogs, as Martin rushed for 118 yards on 26 carries and caught two more balls for 30 yards. These included a spectacular touchdown catch over the top of a TCU defender. Martin accounted for all three touchdowns for the day, becoming the first Mustang to account for three touchdowns since Chris Cunningham did it in 2001 against the Rice Owls. Martin was named the C-USA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts, marking the first time the ‘Stangs have swept a conference’s awards since 2001. Martin will start the game on Saturday, but fans can still expect to see a heavy diet of Richuel Massey and Cedrick Dorsey.

Going Home

College Station is a special place for SMU Coach Phil Bennett, and he will be there for the first time as a head coach on Saturday. Bennett starred for the Aggies from 1974-1977, lettering as a defensive lineman, and returned to his school to be an assistant coach from 1979-1981. He came back to Aggieland in 1995 to be the team’s defensive coordinator under R.C Slocum and still stays in touch with former players like Dat Nguyen. Bennett will definitely have mixed emotions, but it’s something he will have to get used to as the Mustangs will take on the Aggies two more times in the next six seasons.

Inside the Aggies

A Little Help Here!

The Aggies’ defensive line didn’t play up to the standards that it’s used to in the tilt against Clemson, something that Fran took note of. “I think every one of our players walked off the field disappointed,” he said. “They feel like they could have stopped [Clemson] for less yards rushing, and they should feel that way.”

The Aggies gave up over 183 yards on the ground to a Tiger team that runs a spread offense based on the passing of Charlie Whitehurst.

The defensive line, anchored by Jason Jack, Johnny Jolly, Red Bryant and Chris Harrington, must bounce back with a solid performance this weekend. Franchione has already mentioned that some of the back-ups would be getting more time. “I had to tell David Ross a week or two ago that I really appreciated him,” he said, “and [with his play] he has earned himself some more playing time.”

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

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