Desperate times call for desperate measures and with interim head coach Tom Mason moving one of his running backs back to defense full time and playing three quarterbacks today, he realizes that the measure of desperation is at its highest level and is trying to do anything to spark the team. Unfortunately it did not work as the Memphis Tigers came to Dallas and dominated the Mustangs 48-10 to drop them to 0-7 (0-3) on the season.
Senior Kevin Pope made the switch from linebacker to running back in the off-season and is the leading rusher on the team with 105 yards on 34 carries but last week against Cincinnati he saw time at both running back and linebacker. But today against the Tigers he played the entire game on defense and he played well finishing the game with 12 tackles and one sack.
You gotta love that kid,” said Coach Mason about Pope and his performance today. “We wouldn’t be sitting here talking about problems if we had 20 kids like Kevin Pope.”
It may not even take 20 other Kevin Pope’s just one that can play quarterback because that position has been a source of inconsistency all season, and unfortunately after the performances of the three players that played today: Garrett Krstich, Matt Davis and Kolney Cassel, it doesn’t look like things will get better any time soon.
Kristich started the game but seemed to be out of sorts the entire time he was playing as he only completed 10-of-22 passes for 59 yards and was intercepted two times.
He was eventually replaced by Matt Davis, who fared only slightly better and that was because of his ability to run the ball. The sophomore only completed three passes in nine attempts for 55 yards, but did run for 46 yards. Surprisingly Coach Mason did not utilize that aspect of Davis game more considering that Memphis allowed wide receiver turned quarterback Greg Ward Jr. of the Houston Cougars to rush for 97 yards on 17 carries the previous week.
With Davis struggling to complete a better percentage of his passes, Cassel replaced him and but the struggles from the position continued as he did not complete either of the two passes he attempted.
In total the SMU quarterbacks had 20 incompletions and managed only 114 yards of passing — and that is the strength of an offense that is only averaging 144 yards a game.
As bad as the offense was, outside of Pope’s performance, the defense was even worse. Even without their leading rusher Sam Craft, who missed the game with what is being reported as a season-ending arm injury, the Tigers rushed for 279 yards on 53 carries. Senior Brandon Hayes led the way with 104 yards on 13 carries and his back-up freshman Jarvis Cooper contributed 93 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
That stat-line would have been enough for the Tigers to win easily, but sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch also contributed in the blowout as well. He threw for 307 yards on 17-of-23 attempts and three of the receivers he targeted: Tevin Jones (five catches 70 yards), Daniel Montiel (four catches 84 yards) and Phil Mayhue (two catches 96 yard) had their best games of the 2014 season.
Once again the Mustangs are forced back to the drawing board as the look for the right combination of players and schematics that will get them their first win of the 2014 season. In two weeks they head to Oklahoma to face a Tulsa program that is 1-6 on the season and is also struggling to find consistency and maybe this is the game that finally lands the Mustangs in the win column.