By: Nicholas Gilanfar
After a statement win by the Mustangs in a 38-14-week one defeat over Louisiana Tech, week two did not occur in the Mustangs’ favor as they suffered a 28-11 defeat to the #18 Oklahoma Sooners.
Regarding SMU’s pending move to a Power Five conference, this would be their first taste of Power Five since the realignment news as they matched up with Oklahoma for just the eighth time in school history. Although a 17-point margin was hefty, SMU was in the game throughout most of the game but squandered to capitalize on many Oklahoma miscues.
The opening quarter was dominated by both defenses as the offenses were not provided with much wiggle room resulting in three OU punts and two SMU punts. For SMU’s first offensive drive, they were unable to get much done as they only ran five plays which then resulted in a punt.
The punt was then blocked by OU as they had a great position at about the 30-yard line where OU quarterback Dillon Gabriel took advantage of the field position and fired a touchdown to wide receiver Andrel Anthony, OU took the lead 7-0.
For the next drive, the SMU offense starts to ramp up highlighted by a 40-yard reception by wide receiver Romello Brinson and a 32-yard reception by wide receiver Jake Bailey. Despite the two dynamic receptions, SMU was unable to punch it into the endzone and had to settle for a field goal still trailing 7-3.
The SMU defense remained resilient towards the high-powered Sooner offense by forcing three punts followed by a sack from linebacker Elijah Chatman. At the start of the season, SMU had a defense that could be a reckoning force in college football.
SMU started the second quarter mid-drive as they were gaining momentum down the field as they started to get running back LJ Johnson Jr. more involved as he led the team last week in rushing yards with 128 yards. Johnson had 12 yards in the drive, but it was not enough for SMU as the defense was dominating the offensive line and shutting down the passing game which forced an SMU punt.
The next drive OU will start to separate themselves supported by efficient defensive play. Walk-on OU running back Tawee Walker was sensational in this drive going for about 45 yards. OU scored another touchdown on the second goal with a pass from Dillon Gabriel to Blake Smith.
The remaining two drives for SMU were highlighted by two missed opportunities as one drive resulted in a turnover on downs and another one on a missed field goal. Throughout the beginning of the season, head coach Rhett Lashlee is going for an aggressive approach as they are always going for it on fourth and short which took a turn for the worst on this drive. As for the missed field goal, SMU took it down to the 45-yard line with a chance to hit a 49-yard field goal but kicker Collin Rogers was unable to hit it. SMU trailed 14-3 at halftime.
Again, another defensive showdown in the third as SMU was still in the thick of it. SMU and OU put up similar drives in the third as they both had a punt and turnover. In the Mustangs’ second drive, they were rolling down the field, getting the run game involved as running back Jaylan Knighton rushed for 25 yards until the ball was batted out of his hands and resulted in a fumble. For OU, their second drive was lengthy and had 11 plays, but they were a turnover on downs.
SMU started the fourth quarter with the ball mid-drive as the drive resulted in 18 plays of physical football, SMU still had the fight. The quarter starts with SMU at fourth and three as Stone drops back with an incomplete pass to wide receiver Roderick Daniels Jr. It was then called a first down for pass interference. The drive goes on as SMU then again finds themselves on third and nine as Stone looks for Maryland and is incomplete, but SMU ends up getting bailed again by yet another OU pass interference. SMU ends up scoring as Stone finds the fullback Stone Eby for the touchdown. SMU is not done yet as they decided to go for the two-point conversion with Stone finding Jake Bailey by creeping into the game only trailing 14-11.
While SMU was able to get back into this game, it ended up going downhill for the Mustangs. On the next drive, OU wasted no time responding with a touchdown of their own where Gabriel was able to find wide receiver Jalil Faroq for the touchdown extending their lead to 21-11. After the OU touchdown, SMU ended up getting away from the game as they were unable to make anything happen on offense resulting in a three-and-out turnover on downs. OU did not skip a beat for the remainder of the game, they were able to score another touchdown by running back Tawee Walker and an interception for Stone in the last drive of the game.
SMU Mustangs 11 vs. Oklahoma Sooners 28
SMU Player Stats
QB Preston Stone: 26/45 250 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
RB Jaylan Knighton: 15 Rush, 76 yards
WR Jake Bailey: 7 Receptions, 73 yards
S Jonathan McGill: 6 tackles
DT Elijah Chatman: 2 tackles, 1 sack
Offensive Player of the Game: QB #2 Preston Stone
Although the game did not go in our favor, Stone delivered the best offensive game of the day. Offensive lineman Justin Osborne went out due to injury so there was some extra pressure added to Stone, but he excelled under that pressure being able to scramble out of many pressure plays and still manage to make the big plays. Preston Stone finished the game with 250 yards, one touchdown, and an interception in the last play of the game. SMU has a star in the making as he has adjusted well so far to Rhett Lashlee’s system.
Defensive Player of the Game: S #2 Jonathan Mcgill
McGill is a senior graduate transfer from Stanford and he is a homegrown talent in Coppell, Texas, and has adjusted well into his role in the SMU defense. McGill was flying around throughout the game, making play after play, recording six tackles. This game was a statement for him as he will continue to stabilize himself as a core piece in the DB room.
Next Game: Saturday, September 16 vs. Prairie View at 6:00 PM
Featured Image via 247 Sports