During the course of a football season there will be one game, or one moment within a game which will define a team’s season. On Thursday night in a Conference USA showdown with rival Houston, the SMU Mustangs may have had the defining moment of the season. Coming off a shocking loss to Tulane last week and heading into a big game with a rival, everyone had to wonder how the team would recover.
It was evident from the early part of the game, SMU came to play and they were going to take advantage of every opportunity given to them. It started with a muffed punt in the first quarter and continued throughout the game, resulting in nine total takeaways, which ranks second all time for takeaways in a game for SMU. But the offense was seemingly hitting all cylinders also with Garret Gilbert going 23 of 38 for 265 yards and four touchdowns, and Zach Line gettting his 19th 100 yard rushing game by rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
This was a total team effort from SMU and it looked like the Mustangs were ready to play on Thursday night. Which is what makes the loss to Tulane such a head scratcher, some people within the program said they thought SMU was overlooking Tulane for the Houston game. This may be the case, but when the conference race is tight and every win counts, you can’t over look one opponent.
Thursday night provided a lot of fireworks on the field with the Mustangs scoring a new all time high 72 points, and the most in the post death penalty era since they scored 58 against Cal State Northridge in 1999. If this kind of victory over rival Houston drum up some excitement for the rest of the season, then there may not be much that will. Right now the Mustangs are in control of their own destiny and could have an exciting game set up at the end of the season with West division leader Tulsa. This is a momentum building win, and a confidence builder for Garret Gilbert. It looks like June Jones has finally opened the playbook and will let Gilbert be more aggressive.
Conference USA better watch out, the Mustangs may be hitting their stride at the right time of the season, If they do, then it could be a stampede into the Conference Championship game.