5 thoughts from SMU's 62-50 win over UConn: Defense takes day off, Mustangs

This story is about


Let’s hope you took the over.

Here are five takeaways from SMU’s 62-50 win over UConn:

Wind advisory

UConn’s defense has been historically bad this season, so the Huskies would take any advantage they could get. With a sustained 17 mph. WNW wind, UConn made sure SMU played into it first — adding to the already cold conditions. The temperature at kickoff was 44 degrees and continued to drop throughout the game.

Not only did the wind help disrupt SMU’s passing attack, it also helped the Huskies flip the field.

With the exception of a beautiful spiral thrown downfield to Reggie Roberson for his first completed pass of the game, Ben Hicks had some early difficulty with the wind. Passes toward the sidelines kept getting blown behind his receivers.

SMU quickly adjusted the game plan. After 8 of 11 plays on the Mustangs’ first drive were passes, 5 of 6 on their next drive (which resulted in a touchdown) were rushes.

Through 15 minutes, SMU led UConn by just 10. The Mustangs began to pull away once they had a turn with the wind at their backs. Hicks passed for 276 yards, averaging 9.5 yards per completion.

Double barrel

Shotguns can be deadly. Until you run out of buckshot.

UConn’s offense relies on two weapons: QB David Pindell and RB Kevin Mensah, both of whom had great afternoons running the football. But good run blocking and two sets of speedy legs can’t win games by themselves.

Pindell and Mensah both rushed for over 180 yards, the third time they’ve rushed for over 100 in a single game this season. UConn averaged 202 rushing yards per game entering the week and rushed for 365 against SMU.

Pindell’s speed caught the Mustangs off-guard for almost the entire game. He blew past SMU for multiple large gains, including touchdown runs up the middle of 30 and 48 yards. He made good decisions in the passing game, completing 25 of 38 passes for 215 yards and four passing TDs. Delontae Scott tallied two sacks; Richard Moore and freshman Toby Ndukwe added one apiece. But Pindell was responsible for 396 yards of UConn’s offense. The Mustangs couldn’t stop the one guy they needed to stop most. 

Breaking a sweat

Given the snow flurries, maybe a cold sweat…

For a second straight week, SMU’s running game has improved. The gradual involvement of Xavier Jones and Ke’Mon Freeman — who were limited by injuries earlier in the season —  has created quite a renaissance and shown glimpses of what the Mustangs’ offense could have been all along.

Granted, neither Houston nor UConn are great defensively — so, take the progress we’ve seen with a grain of salt. Don’t get too excited just yet.

Freeman rushed for 116yards and three TDs. Jones ran for 133 yards and two scores. Braeden West, SMU’s leading rusher this season by a large margin, rushed for only 4yards while punching in a touchdown.

Fast break

SMU tallied 595 total yards against UConn, having run 70 plays. The Mustangs scored 62 points having possessed the ball for only 24:35. Six of the 8 drives which resulted in a SMU touchdown required six plays or less. Talk about efficiency.

Again, all against a poor defense. But 62 points is still the most points SMU has scored against an FBS opponent all season. The offense continues to make positive strides.

Start looking for airfare

SMU’s win over UConn moves the Mustangs’ chances of becoming bowl-eligible from “possible” to “very possible.” SMU needs to win one of its remaining two games to reach the postseason.

Click here to review the latest bowl projections from SMU, which should certainly improve next week.