What We Learned from the SMU Mustangs’ 49-27 Win over the North Texas Mean Green

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Revenge is a dish best served as a return butt-kicking. And that’s precisely what happened this past Saturday as SMU avenged last season’s blowout road loss with a 49-27 win over in-state rival the North Texas Mean Green.

 

The Mustangs started fast and kept going

After starting off slow in the season opener versus the Arkansas St. Red Wolves — the offense had an interception, safety and a missed field goal in its first four drives — it was important to start fast for the SMU offense. That’s precisely what it did as it scored a touchdown in the first three offensive possessions to take an early 21-0 lead. Not to be overlooked the defense matched the high energy of the offense by limiting UNT high-potent offense to only two first-downs in its first three drives. Led by defensive tackle Demerick Gary’s two sacks the SMU defense harassed UNT quarterback Mason Fine the entire evening and outside of a few plays, dominated the game.

Xavier Jones is finally putting it all together
After bursting on the scene in 2016 with 613 yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman, the expectations have always been high for Xavier Jones. Unfortunately, he has been plagued with injuries throughout his five seasons at SMU, which has resulted in an on-again-off-again rollercoaster of production. 2019 looks like it will be a rollercoaster-up season for the Spring, TX native as he already has six touchdowns in the first two games. Against UNT he finished the game with 127 yards on 16 carries, including a long 51-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter.

 

Shane Buechele is good as advertised

Quarterback Shane Buechele showed that he was a team leader as he was named one of four captains, But there was uncertainty if the leadership would translate into on-field success. Against UNT Buechele exhibited the ability to make all the necessary throws for an SMU offense that finished the evening with 503 total yards — including 292 through the air. In addition to exploiting UNT through the air, Buechele showed the knack of knowing when to tuck the ball and run as he finished the game with 24 yards on four carries. It may not seem like a lot, but Buechele had a key 28-yard run on the first drive of the game which set the tone for the rest of the game.

The Mustangs look to continue the hot start in 2019 as it hosts the Texas St. Bobcats. This is the second match-up between the two in-state rivals with SMU winning 47-36 in 2008. Despite losing its last game to the Wyoming Cowboys 23-14, Texas St. outgained the Cowboys 444-293 and threw for 393 yards. In two games, junior quarterback Gresh Jensen has completed 62% of his passes but has an issue with turning the ball over. Jensen has two interceptions in both games. The Mustangs have a considerable advantage on both sides of the ball, but they cannot take Texas St. lightly.

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