TOP 25!

BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – Week three of the Men’s AP basketball poll came out Monday, and the SMU Mustangs were finally in at number 25.  They were knocking on the door a week ago after their opening game rout of Sam Houston State coming in effectively at number 26 – they were the team receiving the most votes among those that did not make the Top 25.  Over the past week, the Mustangs ran their record to 3-0 with wins over Stanford on the road and Yale at home.

SMU is the third team from the American Athletic Conference to crack the Top 25.  Cincinnati is 24th and Connecticut is 18th this week.  Tulsa is also getting votes after their shocking upset of number nine Wichita State.  SMU was in the AP Top 25 for nine weeks last season including the final seven and for four weeks the season before.  In addition to eight games against those four conference opponents, the Mustangs also have a non-conference games against number 10 Gonzaga on their schedule.

Sunday’s game against Yale was a tight one.  The Bulldogs also received votes in the AP poll last week, and they were very good.  They played an excellent first half, ran their lead to as many as 10 points in the second half, and led in the game for more than 26 minutes.  Guard Makai Mason, who shot 50% from the field and made seven of 11 free throws, was the hot hand for Yale.  He scored 16 of his team’s first 40 points as they built the halftime lead.  He hit three shots from beyond the arc and finished with a game high 24 points.

The Mustangs have proven to be a high scoring offensive outfit, as they are averaging 80.3 points per game so far this year.  At least four players have scored in double digits in each game, and seven different players have hit double digits in at least one game.  It was their defense that turned the Yale game around though.

Associate head coach Tim Jankovich said after the game that they decided at halftime to increase pressure on the ball with double teams and traps.  It worked.  The Mustangs got some easy baskets that got them back in the game.  They tied the game at 49 and took the lead at 53-51.  It was a lead they never relinquished, though the Bulldogs didn’t go away easily.

Sterling Brown was the offensive force that got the Mustangs going.  “Sterling got very aggressive.  That just kind of got us on a roll.  Talk about a big lift,” Associate head coach Tim Jankovich said.

Later, it was Jordan Tolbert that carried the offensive load in a breakout performance for the Texas Tech transfer.  The 6′-7″ forward hit two free throws to give the Mustangs their initial second half lead.  He scored 14 points after intermission and led SMU for the game with 17.

The Mustangs pushed the lead to seven points, their largest of the game as the clock wound past the 1:00 minute mark.  That’s usually good enough for a win, but two Mustangs missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity to open the door for the Bulldogs to get back in it.  The scrappy Yale team scored eight points in the last minute before the clock finally ran out with SMU winning by just two.

This win came on the heels of the Mustangs first road game of the year last Thursday against Stanford.  SMU played well early, but the shots just didn’t fall.  They played more than 10 minutes before they took control of the game.  SMU ran their first half lead to 10 points after the shots started to fall before settling for a seven point margin at halftime.  The Mustangs especially took care of the ball.  They had just two turnovers compared to 10 for the Cardinal

In the second half, they came out smoking and pushed the lead to 20 points at 58-38 in the first six plus minutes.  They actually were a bit sloppy over the final 13 minutes, but they cruised in for an 85-70 15 point win.  Road wins are always good in college basketball.

SMU’s next game is this Sunday afternoon at 2:00.  They play the Brown Bears in Moody Coliseum.  The most notable player on the Brown team is their junior guard Steven Spieth, the brother of professional golfer Jordan Spieth.


*     The SMU Men’s soccer team beat Denver 1-0 Sunday afternoon to advance to the “Sweet 16″ of the NCAA Tournament.  They next play Akron in Akron, Ohio on Sunday, November 29 at 4:00 PM Eastern (3:00 PM Central).

*     Alicia Froling made the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor roll after averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds in two home games for SMU’s Women’s basketball team last week.  The native of Australia had her second double-double of the season when she scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against TCU.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The Mustangs’ Men’s basketball team is in northern California Thursday night for their second game of the season against Stanford.  They overwhelmed Sam Houston State 85-50 last Saturday in the season opener.  It was a performance that was good enough to almost boost the Ponies into the AP Top 25 this week.  They had the most votes in the category of ”Others Receiving Votes”; so essentially, they are ranked 26th this week.

In the opener, Ben Moore was hot early to lead SMU to a 9-0 start.  The Mustangs never looked back as they extended the lead to 40-19 at halftime, and outscored the Bearcats 45-31 after intermission.  Moore finished with 15 points and led the Mustangs with eight rebounds.  All 10 Mustangs dressed for the game saw action, and four scored in double figures led by freshman Shake Milton’s 17.  Keith Frazier (13) and Sterling Brown (10) were the other two.  Markus Kennedy was limited by foul trouble and played just 16 minutes.  He scored seven.  Nic Moore led the Mustangs with 31 minutes played and was very good despite lackluster numbers.  He scored eight points with one assist.

“What jumped out to me was that we really played together and really shared the ball,” acting head coach Tim Jankovich said about the game.  “I thought we played really hard.  There weren’t really any surprises.  I was just really pleased with the effort.  We’re potentially a better perimeter shooting team than we were last year.  It takes the pressure off of Nic (Moore) to score.”

He worries about the defense though.  “We became a great defensive team last year, and three of the big, big reasons why that is are gone.  (Yanick Moreira, Cannen Cunningham and Ryan Manuel are the three big, big reasons.)  From a defensive point of view, we’re not the same defensive team we were last year.”

Foul trouble led Jankovich to play zone defense more in this game.  That may happen more often this year, as Jankovich says there is a mandate for referees to clean up the game.  They’ll be calling more fouls, but he still contends, “When all is said and done, we need to be a very, very good solid man-to-man defensive team that can keep from fouling.”

Jankovich has been a head coach prior to taking this job with Larry Brown three years ago.  He enjoyed being back in charge.  “The guys were playing so well, that it wasn’t that hard for me.  I was very comfortable.  It’s been three years since I was a head coach and I wondered if it would feel like it had been thirty years or three minutes; and honestly, it felt like I’d coached last year.  It wasn’t that different.”

As for Stanford, Jankovich says, “They’re good.  They’ve got a lot of guys that can shoot.”

He hopes to be at full strength for the game.  Freshman Sedrick Barefield had a temperature in excess of 100 at the shoot around before the Sam Houston game, but the fever broke by game time allowing him to see limited action in the game.  Other players have missed practices this week, but Jankovich is optimistic that he’ll have everyone at his disposal Thursday night.

Thursday’s game tips at 10:30 PM Central time and is televised nationally on ESPN2.

MUSTANG MORSELS:  Nic Moore has been named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50.  It’s the second year in a row that Moore has been considered for the most prestigious award in college basketball.  It is given to the top player in college basketball by the Los Angeles Athletic Club….Markus Kennedy was also named to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, which recognizes the top power forward in Division I….Ben Emelogu is out for the season with back and knee issues.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:  The SMU Women’s team is off to a 1-1 start after opening with a 74-36 rout of Northwestern State last Sunday and falling to TCU 89-79 Wednesday night.

In the opening game, four Mustangs scored in double digits including Dai’ja Thomas with 12 points.  The Dallas Skyline grad was named Freshman of the Week in the American Athletic Conference for her effort.

Alicia Froling had here seventh career double double against TCU scoring 26 points, one shy of her career high, and pulling down 14 rebounds.

MEN’S SOCCER:  The Mustangs earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time in the past 22 years.  They won the regular season American Athletic Conference championship, but fell to Tulsa in the semi-finals of the conference tournament on the basis of penalty kicks after the game ended in a 2-2 tie.  SMU hosts Utah Valley Thursday night at Westcott Field on the SMU campus at 7:00 PM Central in the opening game of the tournament.

FOOTBALL:  The Mustangs play their final home game Saturday night against Tulane.  The kickoff is set for 7:00 PM Central, and the game is televised on ESPN News.



BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Men’s basketball team opens the season this Saturday evening against Sam Houston State.  This Pony team could well be the best yet in the four year tenure of head coach Larry Brown, but the NCAA sanctions that were levied in September have put a damper on fan enthusiasm.  The post season ban, in particular, is the most disappointing punishment for Mustang fans starved for a good showing in the NCAA Tournament.

Brown returns seven players from last year’s 27-7 squad.  Most notable among the returning players are Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy.  Moore, the Mustangs’ point guard, was the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, and at the conference media day, he was picked to again take the honor in a vote of the coaches.

Center Markus Kennedy, who has been named second team All Conference in each of the last two seasons, was selected to be a first team All Conference player this season.  Brown noted that “Markus has dropped a lot of weight.”  Kennedy never really got into top physical condition last season as he missed a number of practices dealing with academic issues.  This year, he looks noticeably trimmer.

Brown feels that both have improved over last season.  “With what we lost (from last year’s team), we’re going to need them to improve.”

Juniors Keith Frazier, Sterling Brown and Ben Moore also return.  They have collectively started 90 games over the last two seasons and will challenge to be starters again.  Ben Emelogu and Jonathan Wilfong are the other two returning players.

Brown has five newcomers to incorporate into his system.  Two are transfers that are essentially incorporated already after practicing with the team last season.  Ft. Worth native Jordan Tolbert (Texas Tech) and Semi Ojeleye (Duke) are the transfers.  The 6′-7″ Tolbert is a senior who averaged 10.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per game two seasons ago at Tech in his junior year.  He sat out last season under the transfer rules.  “Jordan is about as athletic and strong as any player we’ve had here,” Brown says.

Ojeleye (6′-8″) played 17 games at Duke as a freshman and six more games last season before he decided to transfer at the semester.  He consequently will not be eligible until after this fall semester and has two more full seasons of eligibility after this year.  He is a very physical player who is expected to play a big role as the Mustangs seek to replace Cannen Cunningham and Yanick Moreira from last year’s team.

The other three newcomers are freshmen Malik “Shake” Milton from Oklahoma, Jarrey Foster from Houston and Sedrick Barefield from Corona, California.  All three are guards.  Brown says he doesn’t plan on red shirting any of them unless an injury situation arises.  Milton is perhaps the most highly regarded of the trio, though Brown says about Foster, “He’s been well coached.  He’s maybe our best athlete.”  Brown indicated that Milton and Barefield will see time at point guard and feels that he will be able to cut down Nic Moore’s minutes because he has such capable backups.

Brown commented about all three freshmen, “Our freshmen are way ahead of freshmen, I think.”  He’s pleased with the group.  “All of our freshmen have been a joy to be around.”

Brown will for sure miss three players from last year’s squad.  Gone are guard Ryan Manuel and centers Yanick Moreira and Cannen Cunningham.  “We lost some awful good defenders, and that was kind of the staple of our team.  Not having Yanick, and Ryan and Cannen; so that’s going to be an issue.  Ryan was the best defensive guard in the country.”

As for this year’s team, Brown says, “In terms of having depth, this is by far the deepest team we’ve had.”

Brown says the team hasn’t looked very good so far in practice.  A big part of the problem is injuries.  Nic Moore missed a couple of weeks with a concussion.  Ben Moore has been banged up.  Ben Emelogu is still not 100% as he recovers from surgery after last season. Keith Frazier has been dealing with the effects of knee surgery.  “We’ve barely had 10 guys to practice in the last two and one-half weeks.”

The Mustangs had two scrimmages that were not open to the public.  After those outings, Brown said about the defense, “Not real good.  I don’t think we’ve rebounded well.  We don’t rebound as a team.”

At the AAC media day, it was announced that the Mustangs were picked to win the conference again in a vote of the coaches.  They garnered eight of the 11 first place votes.

Part of the sanctions against the team is a nine game suspension for Brown.  He has led practice this fall.  The suspension begins this Saturday with the first game, at which point he is prohibited from having any contact with players or coaches.  No watching games at the arena.  No phone calls, E-mails or text messages.  Nada.  Assistant Head Coach Tim Jankovich will run the team in Brown’s absence.

Brown said he’s been flattered at the invitations he has received.  He plans to hop around with NBA associates starting with Greg Popovich in San Antonio.  He also expects to spend time with the Minnesota Timberwolves.  “I’m going to use it (the suspension) to learn as much as I can.”  His return will come at the tenth game of the season against Kent State in Las Vegas on December 22.

The Mustangs schedule features some high profile games.  Michigan will be in Moody Coliseum on December 8.  The Mustangs travel across the Metroplex to play TCU on December 2.  Regretably, the renovation of Daniel Meyer Coliseum will not be complete by that date.  The arena, which has been re-named Schollmaier Arena, will open on December 20.  The SMU – TCU game will be played at Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center.  Perhaps the jewel of the non-conference home schedule is Gonzaga on February 13.

Conference play opens December 29 on the road in Tulsa.  Cincinnati and Connecticut are expected to be the top two challengers as SMU defends its conference championship.  Cincinnati plays in Moody on January 7, while Connecticut is the last home game on March 3.

Under the conference rules, SMU will not be allowed to play in the conference tournament.  The 14 non-conference games and the 18 conference games comprise the total schedule with the NCAA sanctions.  Disappointing for Mustang fans, but still a great slate of games to watch, and a marvelous team to follow.


*     The SMU men’s soccer team has advanced to the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference post season tournament.  They are ranked seventh in the nation this week and are the number one tournament seed as regular season champions.  They play four seed Tulsa on Friday, a team they swept in two regular season games.  If they win, they will face the winner of two seed Central Florida, the school that is hosting the tournament, and three seed Connecticut.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – Number 22 ranked Temple beat SMU 60-40 Friday night in Ford Stadium to improve their record to 8-1 overall, 5-0 in American Athletic Conference play, and their rank improved to 21st in this week’s AP Top 25 poll.  SMU fell to 1-8 and 0-5.  The score is in no way indicative of the marvelous game an ESPN2 national audience was treated to.  It was a theme that has become all too familiar to Mustang fans.  The Ponies play well against a superior opponent, but in the end, critical mistakes prevent them from winning.

Temple seemingly took control of the game at least three times with leads of 14-0, 38-21 and 45-31.  The 14-0 lead came as Temple’s Jager Gardner dashed 94 yards on the Owls’ second play from scrimmage and a touchdown drive on their second possession that ended with a six yard touchdown pass.

“Some teams get down 14 points like we did, and the easy thing to do is quit,” SMU head coach Chad Morris said after the game.  “That’s the last thing these guys are going to do.”

From that point, SMU rallied to take the lead with 17 second quarter points.  Both touchdowns came from the running game with quarterback Matt Davis going the final six yards for the first one, and Xavier Jones scampering 13 yards for the one that gave the Ponies the lead with 4:03 left in the first half.

Unfortunately, the Mustang defense could not hold the lead.  Temple drove after the SMU kickoff to score a touchdown with 24 seconds left until halftime.  That gave them a 21-17 lead at intermission, a lead they never relinquished.

Late in the game, the Mustangs scored nine points in the span of 14 seconds on the game clock with a safety and a two play touchdown drive after the ensuing kickoff.  That pulled them to within five points at 45-40 and the Mustangs got the ball back with a little over four minutes remaining.  The fairy tale ending looked possible.

Facing a fourth and nine with slightly more than two minutes left in the game, Temple thwarted the Ponies’ rally by knocking down the pass at the line of scrimmage.  The Owls tallied 15 points in the final 1:45 when they broke a running play for a TD and ran back a pass interception for another.

The Owls won, but they knew they had been in a game.  40 points from SMU is the most scored on Temple this season.  Prior to Friday’s game, 26 points was the most Temple had allowed, and their non-conference schedule included Notre Dame and Penn State.

Matt Davis keyed the Mustangs’ performance.  He rushed for 102 yards on 17 carries, his third 100-yard game of the season.  He went 17-29 through the air for 167 yards.

Wide receiver Courtland Sutton had one of his lesser statistical games with just two catches for 29 yards, but still played a fine game.  The Owls double teamed constantly and Sutton drew three pass interference penalties when he was in position to catch a long pass.  He also threw a completed pass on a gadget play to Braeden West for 45 yards.

Certainly, the 1-8 record is disappointing, but there is no question that this team is far superior to last year’s.  The energy level of the team is still great.  The defense is getting better by the game – more tackles for loss, more stops.  It’s a superior coaching job by Chad Morris to keep the team on top of their game.

“I’m extremely proud of the way our guys played,” Morris told the media.  “our effort for the third or fourth week in a row has been exceptional.  Our guys are playing extremely hard.  They’re giving us .everything they’ve got.  They’re a joy to coach.”

“When  you look at our strength of schedule and who we’ve played, I think it says a whole lot about our guys.  We’re close.  We’ve just got to find a way to not beat ourselves

The schedule doesn’t get any easier this week.  The Mustangs travel to Annapolis, Maryland to face the Naval Academy.  The Midshipmen are fresh off a 45-20 upset of previously undefeated Memphis in Memphis and have a 7-1 record.  They cracked the AP Top 25 this week at number 22, which will make them the fifth ranked opponent on the Mustangs’ schedule so far.  The Wynne Las Vegas line on the game is Navy -22.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – SMU gave up the ball on two critical turnovers that led to Tulsa touchdowns, enabling the Golden Hurricane to knock off the Mustangs 40-31 Saturday afternoon in Ford Stadium.  The Mustangs hit on a season high four touchdown passes, including two to All-Conference candidate Courtland Sutton, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the critical turnovers.

The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and drove 72 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown.  Indeed, many SMU fans had not even made their way from the Boulevard to their seats, as the drive took just 3:38.  The Ponies then held Tulsa to a field goal on a 20 play drive to retain the lead at 7-3.  On the ensuing kickoff, the Mustangs got a run back to the 40 and needed just seven plays to traverse the last 60 yards for a second touchdown that extended the lead to 14-3.

The game turned in the final 2:33 of the first half.  SMU gave up the first critical turnover when Matt Davis’s pass to the left flat was intercepted for a pick six.  The Hurricane’s Kerwin Thomas raced 31 yards to give Tulsa their first lead of the game at 16-14.

The Ponies stilled looked good to take a lead to the halftime locker room, when they scored on a halfback pass – Xavier Jones to Xavier Castille.  Chase Hedlund converted the extra point to give the Mustangs a 21-16 lead with just 1:12 left in the half.

Unfortunately, the Mustang defense couldn’t hold the lead.  Tulsa needed just 53 seconds to drive 75 yards after Hedlund’s kickoff went for a touchback.  The Hurricane converted the extra point this time to grab a 23-21 lead, and SMU never led again in the game.

The second critical turnover came early in the second half when Deion Sanders, Jr. muffed a punt.  Tulsa needed to drive just 28 yards to extend the lead to 30-21.  Both teams added a touchdown and a field goal for the final 40-31 score.

Head coach Chad Morris told Bill Nichols of the Dallas Morning News after the game, “We didn’t create any turnovers and that is a killer.  Our goal is four a game, but we aren’t making any.  When you don’t create any, you basically have to play perfect football.  We can’t lose the turnover battle and expect to win.  It was really demoralizing.  Our defense is getting stops, and our special teams are getting us great field position, so it hurts.”

SMU is now 1-7 for the season, which mathematically eliminates them from bowl consideration.  They are 0-4 in conference play.  Tulsa improved to 4-4 overall and 1-3 in AAC play.  The Ponies next play Temple in the American Athletic Conference Friday night game of the week for ESPN2.  Game time is 7:00 PM Central.  The Wynn Las Vegas betting line had the Owls favored by 13-1/2 points on Monday morning.


*     Courtland Sutton caught eight passes for 165 yards, his season high in both categories and the most yards by an SMU receiver in two years.  He now has nine touchdowns on the season and has caught at least three passes in each Mustang game this season.

*     Xavier Castille’s TD catch was his second of the year.  Both passes have been thrown by Xavier Jones.

*     Deion Sanders, Jr. ran back three kickoffs for 86 yards, and now ranks fifth all time at SMU with 1,298 career kickoff return yards.

*     The Mustangs’ defense looked especially spirited and made eight tackles for losses.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Mustangs lost to South Florida this past Saturday 38-14, their fifth straight loss.  Their record is now 1-6 for the season and 0-3 in conference play.  Saturday’s loss was especially disappointing as SMU played its worst game of the year.

The Mustangs had been off the week before Saturday’s game, and the weekend before that, they played on Thursday.  Consequently, they had more than two weeks to heal the nagging injuries and prepare for USF, which looked to be one of the few winnable games remaining on the schedule.  It was thus disappointing to see the team fizzle so badly.  Indeed, they looked rusty from an execution standpoint, rather than energized from the time off.

The Bulls scored first and scored last.  Their defensive front put tremendous pressure on Mustang quarterback Matt Davis, who completed nine of 24 passes, and rushed for a season low 17 yards.   With the score at 31-7 after three quarters, the game was essentially decided.  Head coach Chad Morris pulled Davis and played Darrell Colbert in the fourth quarter.  Colbert was a stellar 11-13 passing for 120 yards including a touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton on a SportsCenter quality catch.  Colbert also rushed for 39 yards.

Sutton by the way caught three passes for 56 yards.  The TD was his seventh of the season.  He has been added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award given each year to the nations top receiver.

The much maligned SMU defense showed progress.  They made 11 tackles for losses.  However, Bulls’ quarterback Quinton Flowers ran at will amassing an obscene 201 rushing yards, a new USF record.  His rushing total on 23 carries was more than the entire SMU backfield racked up on 43 carries – a mere 132 yards.  Flowers also score three touchdowns.

The Mustangs were troubled with fumble-itus again, as they lost the ball four times on three fumbles and an interception.  In their previous game, they fumbled three times at Houston to fritter away any chance of beating the Cougars, who scored a pair of touchdowns in the final two minutes before halftime on short fields after Mustang fumbles.  That turned a 21-14 Mustang lead into a 28-21 halftime defincit and proved to be the difference in the 42-28 final score.

The 1-6 record may be disappointing to Mustang fans, but the program still gives every sign of moving forward under Morris.  For one thing, the schedule has proven to be much more difficult than imagined.  Four of the six losses have come at the hands of teams that are still undefeated as October draws to a close – Baylor, TCU, James Madison and Houston.  Worse, two of the remaining teams on the schedule – Temple and Memphis – have yet to lose a game, and November 14 opponent Navy has lost just once.

Indeed the American Athletic Conference has proven to be much better than experts expected when the season began.  In the beginning, no AAC teams were ranked in the top 25.  This week, Memphis is 16 in both the AP and coaches polls.  Houston is 18 and 19, while Temple is 21 and 22.  Navy is receiving votes in the coaches poll.

The Mustangs are back home this weekend playing Tulsa (3-4, 0-3) on Halloween afternoon at 3:00 PM.  This is a winnable game, as the Las Vegas betting line has the Mustangs as 3.5 point underdogs.

The program received two more fine verbal commitments on the recruiting trail over the past week.  The Ponies now have 23 verbal commitments for a class that should be ranked at least in the top 50.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The Mustangs trailed the James Madison University Dukes for most of the game Saturday night.  For a moment, it appeared the Ponies had rallied for a fairy tale ending to SMU’s 100 year anniversary homecoming game, as they scored a pair of touchdowns in the final six minutes to overcome a 10 point deficit and lead 45-41.  Unfortunately, there was a bit more than two minutes left in the game when they took the lead, and the Dukes easily executed their two minute offensive drill after receiving the ensuing kickoff to put the winning touchdown on the board with just seconds remaining in the game.  That gave JMU a 48-45 win.

There is disappointment in the Mustang nation over losing to an FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) team.  It was just the fifth time this season that an FCS team (formerly known as Division I-AA) has beaten an FBS team (Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A), but this James Madison team is very good and is capable of beating a lot of FBS teams.  The Dukes clearly dominated this game statistically as their prolific offense racked up 729 yards.  JMU is 4-0, and has amassed at least 600 total yards on offense in each of the four games.

JMU’s quarterback, Vad Lee, romped seemingly at will against the porous Mustang defense.  The Georgia Tech transfer, who was a third team FCS All-American last year, ran for 276 yards on 20 carries and passed for 289 more, as he completed 20 of 33 passes.  His quarterback rating for the game was 146!   The 565 yards of total offense smashed the old school record of 478, which Lee had set previously.  He was named FCS “Player of the Week” for the second time this season with the performance.

The good news for the Mustangs came on the offensive side of the ball.  They scored a season high 45 points, as each week, the Ponies have scored more than their previous game.  The record reads 1-3, but SMU has scored 134 points in those four games, one more point than they scored in 12 games last season.

Courtland Sutton continues to establish himself as one of the top receivers in the conference, if not the country.  He caught five passes for 137 yards.  One went for a touchdown, his fifth of the year.  He has scored a TD in each game so far this year.

Quarterback Matt Davis was 18-30 for 262 passing yards.  He also ran the ball 17 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns.  It was the third straight game in which he scored two touchdowns.

The two freshmen running backs also had nice games.  Xavier Jones ran the ball 17 times for 71 yards and two touchdowns, while Braeden West gained 61 yards on eight carries.  One of his runs went for a touchdown.

The Mustangs host East Carolina University this weekend to open American Athletic Conference play.  Game time is 3:00 PM Saturday.  The Pirates are 2-2 on the season coming off a 35-28 win over Virginia Tech last weekend.  A check of seven Las Vegas betting lines has ECU favored by five points on three, 5.5 points on three and six points on one.


*     Field goal kicker Chad Hedlund hit a career long field goal of 52 yards.  That ties him for the seventh longest field goal in SMU history.

*     SMU’s defense did have three interceptions, and the Mustangs also recovered an on-sides kick.  All four resulted in SMU scores.

*     JMU moved up to number six in the FCS Top 25 poll this week.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

TCU won Saturday night 56-37 to retain the Iron Skillet for another year, but make no mistake about it; the Horned Frogs knew they were in a ball game.  For SMU, a loss is still a loss, and that’s not good; but Saturday night’s performance is one of the best losses in Mustang history.  The team obviously came to play.  They weren’t intimidated by the opponent ranked number three in the nation.  In many ways, the 37 points and 508 total yards they racked up against the Horned Frogs were more impressive than beating the University of North Texas a week earlier.

Even head coach Chad Morris said afterward, “I told our guys there are winners and learners.  We learned a valuable lesson.”

The Mustangs took the opening kickoff and marched smartly down the field for a touchdown.  TCU had not previously been scored upon in the first quarter this year.  The Horned Frogs quickly came back to tie the game when they got the ball.  However, the Mustangs moved the ball again on their second possession to drive for a field goal that put them ahead 10-7.

From there, the tide turned to the Frogs.  They proceeded to score 21 unanswered points.  For recent editions of Mustang football teams, that would have been the knockout punch.  Not these Mustangs.  They scrambled for another TD late in the first half that cut the half time deficit to 28-17.

The Frogs appeared to have delivered the knockout punch for good when they scored touchdowns on their first two second half possessions to run their lead to 25 points at 42-17.  This Mustang club still didn’t quit though.

SMU scored on their next four possessions (two touchdowns and two field goals) to get within five points at 42-37.  However, the Frogs closed out the game with two touchdowns to secure the win.

Freshman redshirt Courtland Sutton continues to impress.  The 6′-4″, 215 receiver caught four passes for 115 yards.  One of the passes was good for a touchdown, such that he’s now scored four on the season with at least one in each game.  He also made a SportsCenter quality catch that was nullified by a holding penalty.  One national writer has nicknamed him “Megatron”.  He’s a great athlete, and the sky is the limit for how good this guy can become.  Make no mistake about it though, he’s good right now!

Quarterback Matt Davis continues to be a great leader as well as a fine player.  He was responsible for 392 yards of total offense, one yard shy of his career high set against Tulsa last season.  He threw for 330 yards, rushed for 62 more, and scored two touchdowns for the second straight game.  Morris tried hard to get Davis to come to Clemson four years ago.  The coach/quarterback partnership finally happened in Dallas instead of South Carolina.  It’s working well.

At the end of the day, the Mustangs are 1-2; but both losses are to teams ranked in the top five in the nation.  It’s the most difficult schedule in the early going of this year’s college football season.  A win next week against FCS, the former Division 1-AA, James Madison is a must to give the Mustangs a chance of going to a bowl game.  Plus, next weekend is Homecoming and the celebration of SMU’s 100th birthday.  Don’t expect an easy game though.  The JMU Dukes are 3-0 and made the FCS playoffs last year.

After last year’s 1-9 season, the terms “SMU” and “bowl game” didn’t fit into the same sentence; but with what the Mustangs have shown in three games to start the season, a bowl game has to be considered a reasonable possibility.  Some national writers are so impressed, that they have speculated that the Mustangs could challenge for the American Athletic Conference title.  That’s still a stretch, and going to a bowl game may be too; but the SMU players are making both look at least possible.


*     37 points scored is the most the Mustangs have ever scored against a top 5 team.

*     SMU did not commit a turnover Saturday night which snapped a streak of 27 games for TCU in which the Frogs had created at least one turnover.

*     Matt Davis completed 17 passes in 31 attempts for 330 yards, eclipsing his previous career high of 212.

*     Kicker Chad Hedlund was perfect on seven kicks.  He scored a career high 13 points by going 4-4 on points after touchdowns and by kicking field goals of 22, 21 and 32 yards.

*     Corner back Horace Richardson had an interception for the second straight game.  It was the only turnover of the game.

*     Saturday’s crowd was 48,127, the third largest crowd in Amon G. Carter Stadium history.

*     Wide receiver Ryheem Malone had 90 receiving yards on three receptions, one of which went for 63 yards.  Both 90 and 63 are career highs.


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – SMU beat North Texas State Saturday night 31-13 for the first win of the season and the first win for new Head Football Coach Chad Morris, who experienced a Powerade Shower from his players.  A year ago, North Texas pounded the Mustangs 43-6, so Saturday’s result represents a 55 point turnaround.  The win matched last year’s SMU win total for the season and was the first home win in almost two years.

For sure the difference is Morris.  He is known for his energy, and that has trickled down to his players.  There was clearly a different, more upbeat demeanor on the bench and on the field.  He told the media after the game, “I tell our guys all the time this game is fun, but the fun is in the winning.  This is the first of many to come.”

The Mustangs put up 444 total yards of offense, almost double North Texas’ total of 240.  However, the game was far closer than the final score and stats suggest.  SMU appeared to have the game well at hand early, but continually cost themselves points with turnovers.  Two fumbles in the red zone cost the Mustangs at least 10 first half points, and two others gave North Texas a short field for a pair of field goals.  Indeed the Mustangs’ defense did well to hold the Mean Green to three points on those two possessions.

North Texas actually rallied to take a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter.  The Mustangs responded though with touchdowns on their next three possessions to put the game away.

The offense under Morris looks far different from the June Jones spread.  The execution is far crisper.  “We have to run the ball to be successful,” Morris said on his post-game radio interview on KTCK 1310 AM, the “Ticket”.  Freshmen Xavier Jones gives the Mustangs quickness and speed at running back.  Upper classman Prescott Line provides power running inside.  It’s a good combination to go along with scrambling quarterback Matt Davis.

Davis led the Mustangs with 125 rushing yards Saturday night and ran for two touchdowns.  It was his third straight 100 yard rushing performance.  He has now reached 100 yards in four of his seven starts at SMU.  Jones added 94 more rushing yards, as the Mustangs ran for 275 in the game, more than North Texas’s total offense.

In the passing game, Davis was 17-24 for 171 yards and two touchdowns.  Ryheem Malone (six) and Courtland Sutton (five) combined for 11 of the 17 receptions.  One of Courtland’s receptions went for a touchdown.  He has three on the season, after catching two TD passes against Baylor.

It was indeed a delightful night for football.  The temperature fell into the 70′s during the game.  Former President George W. Bush was on had for the coin toss.  A crowd of 25,401 attended.

Morris said about the crowd, “Our student section and our fans were outstanding again tonight.  This is two weeks in a row.  They came early and stayed late.  Hats off to them.  They were the difference.”

The Mustangs travel to number three TCU next weekend in the battle for the iron skillet.  The next home game is September 26 against James Madison University, which is SMU’s homecoming game.

COCTAIL CONVERSATION:  The Mustangs wore royal blue helmets, which will be worn for special occasions in the future.  The special occasion Saturday night was a remembrance of the people that died and the police and fire responders 14 years ago in New York at the 9/11 Twin Towers tragedy. 


BY:  Richard W. Humphrey

The first football game of new head coach Chad Morris’s regime is less than two weeks away, but this past weekend, another SMU sport took the spotlight.  Golfer Bryan DeChambeau made history by winning the U. S. Amateur last Sunday.  The senior beat University of Virginia junior Derek Bard 7 and 6 in the 36 hole final at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Illinois.

DeChambeau became just the fifth golfer in history to win the U. S. Amateur and the NCAA individual title in the same year, joining select company.  The other four are Jack Nicklaus in 1961, Phil Mikelson in 1990, Tiger Woods in 1996 and Ryan Moore in 2004.

“It’s an honor to be in that field,” DeChambeau told the Associated Press.

DeChambeau is also the fourth SMU golfer to win the U. S. Amateur.  The other three are Hank Kuehne in 1998, Colt Knost in 2007 and Kelly Kraft in 2011.

He beat some impressive opponents in the match play event.  They included Paul Dunne, who played particularly well as an amateur in the British Open, Maverick McNealey of Stanford, the NCAA Player of the Year, and All-American Matt Nesmith from the University of South Carolina.

By virtue of his play last week, DeChambeau gets exemptions into the 2016 U. S. Open, the 2016 British Open, and likely an invitation to the 2016 Masters.

Last week, the athletic department announced the non-conference Men’s basketball schedule.  The first game is at home November 14 against Sam Houston State.  Game time is 7:00 PM.  The two highlight games in the home portion of the non-conference schedule are Michigan on December 8, which will be televised by ESPN2 (8:00 PM start time) and Gonzaga on Saturday, February 13, which also will be televised on ESPN2 and which has a 9:00 PM start time.  (Times referenced are Central.)

Another home game of interest is Brown University on Sunday, November 29 at 2:00 PM.  One of the Brown players is Junior Steven Spieth, the younger brother of Jordan Spieth of PGA tour fame.  Unfortunately, big brother will not be in town to see little brother play basketball, as he has committed to play in the Australian Open that weekend.

SMU had earlier announced that the Mustangs were entered in the Las Vegas Classic on December 22 and 23.  The Mustangs open with a game against Kent State on December 22.  The other game in the classic pits Colorado against Penn State.  On December 23, the winners from those two games play for first place, while the losers play a consolation game.

SMU Athletics, the Mustang Club, and the SMU Alumni Association have secured special seating in Orleans Arena for the event.

There are a total of eight non-conference games at Moody Coliseum.  The Mustangs also play in Ft. Worth against TCU on Wednesday, December 2.

Another notable game on the schedule is game two of the season.  The Mustangs play at Stanford.

As for football, the Mustangs open the season against Baylor at Ford Stadium.  The game will be televised on ESPN on Friday, September 4, the Friday before Labor Day.

A pair of Mustangs have made the watch list for prestigious post season honors.  SMU senior center Taylor Lasecki was named to the Remington Trophy Fall watch list, which is awarded annually to the most outstanding center in college football.  The award is named after Nebraska’s outstanding center, Dave Remington, an All-American in 1981 and 1982.

This is the third consecutive year that Lasecki has made the watch list.  He has made 36 starts on the offensive line in his SMU career, 34 of which have been at center.  There are 63 centers on the list, 17 of which have been nominated previously.

Senior defensive lineman Cameron Smith made the Wuerffel Trophy watch list.  The Weurffel trophy is known as “College Football’s Premier Award for Community Service”.  It is presented by the All Sports Association in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, and it is named after Danny Wuerffel, the 1986 Heisman Trophy winner.  The Wuerffel Trophy is awarded to the FBS (Division 1-A) player that best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement.

Smith, a senior has appeared in 36 games for the Mustangs including all 13 in his freshman year in 2011.

As for the team itself, incumbent Matt Davis has won the quarterback competition.  The junior led the Mustangs last season in rushing with 613 yards and passing with 855 despite starting just five games.  Prescott Line returns at running back, but head coach Chad Morris noted that true freshmen Xavier Jones and Braeden West have been outstanding.  Morris is also expecting significant contributions at wide receiver from incoming freshmen Kevin Thomas, Alex Honey and Xavier Castille.  Two are likely starters.  James Poche was expected to be part of that group, but he has been ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA.  He can practice this fall and sit on the bench at home games, but will not be allowed to travel with the team.


*     Tight end Jeremiah Gaines was awarded the number 23 jersey this season.  Since 2009, a deserving player on the team has been chosen to wear number 23 in honor of Jerry Levias.  Gaines wore number 84 last year.