The SMU Mustangs were given about as much as they could handle by the Montana State Bobcats. Other than a safety early on in the game, SMU never lead past that point. But they play the game for sixty full minutes and for almost 58 of those minutes, Montana State thought they could escape the hilltop with a victory.
Garret Gilbert ended his night going 35-48 for 317 yards and getting his first TD pass of the season when it mattered most. The Bobcats came into Ford Stadium and quickly show the Mustangs why they are the #3 team in the FCS polls. Between Montana State doing everything right and SMU making numerous mistakes it looked bleak heading into the half, and then there was a punt return for a touchdown by JaBryce Taylor with no time left to draw the Mustangs closer to the Bobcats. It was also the first time since 2011 the Mustangs have a punt return for a touchdown in game.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs the Bobcats got the first drive of the second half and scored a touchdown and a two point conversion to take a 30-19 lead. At this point of the game it was time for the Mustangs to dig in and try to find a way to get back in the game, and they did just that. That opening drive of the second half was the last points Montana State would score.
The Mustangs started chipping away at the Bobcats lead with a couple field goals to make the game a 30-25 lead for the Bobcats. It took a defensive stand late in the game to give the Mustangs a chance to win the game. They took the ball over on their own 19 with 3:46 left in the game. This drive didn’t start great when Gilbert took a sack to start, but then he started moving the Mustangs up the field to get them into position to win the game. The Mustangs moved the ball all the way to the MSU four yard line.
Gilbert took his spot behind center with 12 seconds left to go and while facing a good amount of pressure from the Bobcats defensive front he found Darius Joseph in the middle of the end zone for the go ahead score. This would be the first time the Mustangs had led the game since early in the first quarter. But with five seconds left, the bobcats had one shot at a miracle play to try and steal a victory. Even with a little trickery and playing hot potato, the Mustangs were able to tackle the ball carrier far short of any gain and finish off a victory by the skin of their teeth.
A win is a win and heading into the bye week, this will give the Mustangs something positive to build on, because after the bye week they will travel down to College Station and face the Aggies of Texas A&M.