What We Learned from the SMU Mustangs’ 45-21 Win over the Temple Owls

 

P/C Bryan Sanders D210 Sports

College football is a week to week sport, and the SMU Mustangs have completely embodied that mindset. The Mustangs have gone from a team that many felt could win enough games to qualify for a bowl to one that could very well qualify for a New Year’s Six Bowl (if things go right.) But with that success came higher expectations, and two weeks ago, those expectations almost cost them in the triple-overtime win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Coming off a bye week, fans and the media were unsure how the team would handle facing the Top 25 ranked Temple Owls, but the 45-21 decisive win showed that they were up for the challenge and conquered it pretty quickly.

The most complete game we’ve played up to this point

– SMU Head Coach Sonny Dykes

The SMU offense is scary good with Reggie Roberson Jr. 

Wide receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. started the 2019 season with a bang — an 11-catch 180-yard performance versus Arkansas State –, but nagging injuries impacted his ability to consistently contribute to the SMU offense until Saturday. Roberson Jr. took advantage of lax coverage by the Temple cornerbacks to the tune of a 10 catch, 250 yards, and three touchdown performance. With him being able to play at full strength, his ability to be a deep-ball threat makes this SMU even more dangerous.

Shane Buechele is the quarterback that Sonny Dykes has been longing for 
Head coach Sonny Dykes has had his share of dynamic quarterbacks, but none have been able to do what Shane Buechele can. All season Buechele has demonstrated the ability to throw one of the best deep balls in college football, and it was on full display Saturday as he passed for a career-high 457 yards and six touchdowns. The deep ball pass is a lost art in college football today as very few signal-callers have the arm strength AND the accuracy needed to be successful, but Buechele has it. With Buechele under center, the SMU offense is that much more dangerous as teams will have to choose which aspect to attempt to stop, the three-headed rushing attack of or the ariel assault that features multiple guys capable of being the go-to receiver. Despite coming into the game with a good defense, the Owls struggled to stop either as running back Xavier Jones rushed for 105 yards, and receiver James Proche contributed 80 yards and one touchdown on eight catches.

 

The SMU defense continues to earn its keep

After racking up 456 yards against Memphis, many assumed that Temple would replicate that against an SMU defense that has been up and down all season. But the unit that gave up 500+ yards to Tulsa two weeks ago hunkered down and limited the Owls to 273 total yards. Linebacker Richard McBryde (eight tackles) and Safety Patrick Nelson (two sacks, seven tackles)  led the way and continue to be stalwarts for a defense that limited Temple offensively all afternoon. The Mustangs defense did benefit from at least six drops by Temple receivers, but these are the breaks that good teams get on the way to a historic season.

 

The Mustangs have little time to celebrate its seventh win as they now look to face a struggling Houston Cougars’ team that is in disarray. But as with any rivalry game, the records are irrelevant, and SMU will have to avoid looking past a Houston team that they are better than at this point in the season.
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