On Friday night in front of a capacity crowd and a national TV audience, the SMU Mustangs hoped to steal a season opening win from the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Early on, it looked like this was going to be a fight until the very end, both teams were sluggish early and it looked like points were going to come at a minimum for both teams. Considering this was billed to be a high scoring affair, it started out as a defensive battle.
There were impressive feats by both teams early one, and one of the more impressive performances was put on by freshman walk on quarterback Baker Mayfield for Texas Tech. While it looked like there would be some lucky breaks for the Red Raiders, the Mustangs wouldn’t let them get too far ahead and kept the crowd of 34,790 on the edge of their seats with anticipation. While the game did not live up to the constant barrage of passing and high scoring affair early on, there were moments of beauty throughout the whole game that will be gems to build on throughout the young season for both these squads.
Texas Tech looked to capture some momentum heading into the half, luckily for the Mustangs they would get the ball to start the half and capture their own momentum to start the final half. SMU drove down the field and had the ball knocking on the doorstep, poised to take a lead for the first time in the entire game. Just as the Mustangs got the ball in the end zone, a flag was thrown and a holding call was made against the Mustangs. Some would argue it was a bad call, from my vantage point it didn’t look like holding, but I am not the official who made the call either.
After that, the Mustangs had to settle for a field goal, which was unfortunately missed. After that missed opportunity, Mayfield drove the red raiders down the field on an 80 yard drive and put the Red Raiders up 20-9. This was the beginning of a huge momentum swing, but the Mustangs were able to muster a scoring drive capped off by a 23 yard rush by Gilbert for a touchdown to make it 20-16. After that the proverbial bottom fell out as Texas Tech scored three unanswered touchdowns to get the score 41-16 late into the fourth. SMU was able to get a touchdown late to make the final score 41-23, which makes it look more respectable than the game ended up being in the second half.
Coach June Jones said in his post game comments “there were things that we did well and things we need to improve on” Luckily for the Mustangs they will be welcoming in FCS Montana State next weekend. While Montana State is not a push over team, it will give the Mustangs some focus going into next week and be able to find a way to get that first victory of the season.