The 2019 SMU Mustangs football team took part in a lot of historic firsts this past Saturday as it traveled to Memphis, TN to take on the 24th ranked Memphis Tigers. It was the first time that the program participated in a game that hosted ESPN College Game Day. It was the first time the program was featured in the primetime TV slot on ABC. The team also played before the largest attended conference game in American Athletic Conference history as 59,506 fans filled the Liberty Bowl. Unfortunately, it was also the team’s first loss of the season as it fell to the Tigers, 54-48.
The Special Teams unit was far from special
The biggest worry for the SMU Mustangs special teams most of the year was whether the placekicker for that day could make extra points and field goals. On Saturday, placekicker Kevin Robleto did his job by making his only field goal attempt and three extra points, but the rest of the unit did not get the memo that it was a big game, and it cost the team. Not only did the kickoff unit surrender a 97-yard kickoff return on the opening play of the second half, but the Memphis offense had excellent field position (starting beyond the 40 yard-line) on seven of eight kickoffs. The Tigers offense is too good to be giving them that type of starting field position, and they took advantage of it.
The Good, Bad and Ugly of the SMU defense
The defense did a great job limiting Memphis do-it-all back Kenneth Gainwell. The 102 total yards was the lowest yardage output in a conference game for the electric running back all season.
Finishing the game with four sacks and nine tackles-for-loss, the SMU defense had success attacking the Memphis offensive line all evening.
The SMU defense prides itself on forcing turnovers, and for the first time in 20 games, there was no…
All season, the SMU defense made a point of coming up with a big play when the team needed, but for some reason on Saturday, they just couldn’t make enough plays to get off the field. After Granson’s 30-yard touchdown made the score 40-32, the defense gave up touchdowns on two drives that took less than two minutes — a 49-yard touchdown pass and a 78-yard touchdown run where both scores were courtesy of poor tackling angles.