The last time the Connecticut Huskies visited the Hilltop was in 1989 and were facing an SMU team coming off the 2 year hiatus brought on by the death penalty. While nobody at that time thought SMU would win that game, it has gone down in Mustangs history as the “miracle on Mockingbird”. An exciting 31-30 victory was the start of a comeback from NCAA sanctions. Flash forward to this year and the Huskies are making their second trip to SMU.
Based on records and past performance, most people would pick SMU to win this game in easy fashion, but the Huskies came out looking to prove the “experts” wrong and try to capture their first win of the season. Early on this game was a tough defensive battle, with both teams exchanging punts, until late in the first quarter when SMU was able to break the punt streak and get into the end zone for an early lead. The defense was ready to play today keeping the Huskies quiet while Garret Gilbert and the offense were able to build a 14-0 lead before Uconn was able to put points up.
SMU would score one more time before the end of the first half and would carry a 21-7 lead, most in the stands were feeling like this would be another game where the offense would put up excitingly gaudy numbers and win easy. But Uconn would pull within a touchdown in the 3rd quarter and fans were starting to feel uneasy. But Gilbert would lead the offense down the field to take a 28-14 lead, and once again the Huskies would not go quietly making it a 28-21 game. And after a huge hold to a field goal, there felt like some momentum was building the Huskies way.
Stephon Saunders would end up being the hero of the day with a interception returned for a touchdown late in the game. The 38-21 score would be the final and the Mustangs would capture their 4th win of the season and 3rd conference win. Garret Gilbert threw for 353 passing yards which was his eighth game this season throwing for over 300 and the ninth of his career at SMU and fifth in a row which are all school records. The Mustangs play their next game at the University of South Florida next weekend which will be their 3rd game in three weeks.
While most will say it doesn’t look possible, the Mustangs need just two victories in the next three games to reach bowl eligibility. If they are able to reach that mark, then it will be the fourth straight year they have been to a bowl game. There is still a lot of work to do, but this team has a never say die attitude and with three games left anything is possible.