Posted on: January 7, 2012 4:45 pm
Edited on: January 7, 2012 4:45 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
SMU WON. Which wasn't surprising considering the circumstances Pitt was playing under, only having four full-time coaches left on the staff. SMU jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and essentially put it in cruise control from there on. SMU's offense had 315 yards of offense on the day, with J.J. McDermott throwing for 240 yards and a touchdown and Darius Johnson on the receiving end of 7 passes for 121 yards and a score.
Though it wasn't just SMU's offense getting the job done, as the Mustangs defense held Pitt to only 210 yards of total offense and sacked Tino Sunseri 7 times.
WHY SMU WON. The Mustangs just came out of the gate much stronger in this contest, and after building a 21-0 lead in the first quarter they just made sure not to make any mistakes and hold the lead. The defense had a very strong day and the offense did more than enough. Combine that with a Pitt team that seemed to be lacking in motivation, and there wasn't much suspense in this contest.
WHEN SMU WON. When Rishaad Wimbley scored his first of 2 touchdowns on the day late in the first quarter following a Pitt turnover to make the score 21-0, it was rather evident that the Panthers weren't going to provide much resistance in this one.
WHAT SMU WON. SMU finishes its season at 8-5 and picks up a nice win over a school from the conference that it will be joining in 2013. It wasn't a great season for SMU, but its hard to be too upset with an 8-win season as it's not like the expectations were sky-high for the Mustangs this year.
WHAT PITT LOST. It's head coach, a lot of assistants and any desire to play football in 2011. The Panthers finish the year with a losing record at 6-7 but I think most people involved with the program are just happy to finally be able to close the book on the season and move ahead with Paul Chryst in the future. Whether that future is in the Big East or ACC.
THAT WAS CRAZY. Not really crazy, but it was funny to watch this game just for the fact that Pitt was a team that had been abandoned by its head coach for the Arizona State job (Todd Graham) but only because SMU's coach (June Jones) was all set to take the Arizona State job before things fell apart at the last minute.
BOWL GRADE: F. This game was not entertaining. Maybe it's the placement of the game, but it's hard to get up for a bowl game between Pitt and SMU after you've been watching BCS games and the Cotton Bowl and have the title game looming around the corner. Combine that with a total lack of drama and having to see a few too many replays of SMU running back Jared Williams' devastating leg injury (he broke his left femur in the fourth quarter) and there wasn't much about this one you want to remember.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 6:19 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
They say he who laughs last laughs best. And in this week's war of words between TCU's Gary Patterson and cross-town rivals SMU, we're awarding the Mustangs the last, best laugh.
That's not for lack of effort on Patterson's part. In the wake of SMU's 40-33 overtime victory Saturday, Patterson lashed out at everyone and everything involved in the game that wasn't Frog-related, including SMU, SMU "people," SMU head coach June Jones, former SMU head coach Phil Bennett, SMU receiver Darius Johnson, the Conference USA officials that worked the game, and Conference USA itself.
"We’ve let them come over and talked about how we do things academically and how we do things with the stadium and everything to try to make their program better and their way of thanking us for that is to cut us down," Patterson said in one typical quote. "I don’t think they should ever look for anymore help from anybody from over here ever again."
As Jones himself noted Wednesday, Patterson's outburst has already helped the Mustangs, by helping ensure that 2012's SMU-hosted "Battle for the Iron Skillet" draws far more attention -- and theoretically sells far more tickets -- than it would have otherwise. But the ensuing coverage has also helped get the word out about Mustangs' new offer for fans looking to purchase tickets to SMU's remaining 2011 home games. We'll let the official SMU athletic site explain the "Iron Skillet Special":
If you're keeping track, that's three different repetitions of the numbers "40" and "33" in just two sentences.
Patterson is more than welcome to air his grievances over the officiating and Jones' and Johnson's comments. But in the end, those two numbers are what both he and the Mustangs are going to ultimately remember about the game, and kudos are due SMU for going out of their way to remind their fans (and TCU's) of that.
Posted on: December 28, 2010 12:09 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli as part of the blog's Bowl Bonanza series.
The Basics: Army (6-6) vs. SMU (7-6), Dec. 30 Noon EST
Why You Should Watch: You should tun into the Armed Forced Bowl because you generally don't get a lot of chances to see Army and SMU in bowl games these days. This will be the first time Army has played in a bowl since 1996, and this is only the second time that SMU has been in a bowl game over the last 25 years, or since Eric Dickerson and Craig James were getting paid. If that's not enough there's also the contrast in styles of both teams, as Army runs the triple option and SMU is a run and shoot team.
Keys to Victory for Army: The strategy for Army to win this game is simple, yet won't be nearly as easy to execute. It simply needs to keep the SMU offense off the field as much as possible. While Army should be proud to be back in a bowl game, the fact of the matter is that they just don't have the talent and depth that SMU has, and can't afford to get into any kind of shootout.
Still, there's reason to believe Army can be successful. SMU's defense had a lot of trouble stopping Navy's offense earlier this season, particularly the pitch on the option as Navy rushed for 253 yards in a 28-21 victory over the Mustangs.
Trent Steelman and the Army offense will have to have a similar game and hold on to the ball to have any chance of winning in this game. They just simply don't have the depth on defense, particularly in the secondary, to keep the Mustangs passing attack in check.
Keys to Victory for SMU: Stop the option. SMU has spent a lot of time in practice trying to fix the mistakes of the Navy game and work on their defensive assignments against the option. If they can keep Army from running all over them, the Mustangs should come away with the victory.
After all, this game will be played in SMU's home stadium.
When SMU has the ball they should look to exploit any Army linebacker forced into coverage as they just don't have the agility to stay with SMU's slot receivers Darius Johnson and Cole Beasley. Another key will be to pick up the blitz, as odds are that Army will blitz a lot to make up for its secondary. Kyle Padron has had some trouble when pressured this season, so giving him time to find his open receiver will be key.
The Mustangs should also look to use the run game to slow down the blitz, as they've been more successful on the ground than you'd expect from a June Jones offense. Zach Line isn't going to break any long runs, but he is a big, bruising back that can be used to soften the Army defense and cause linebackers to hesitate on play action, therefore opening up more lanes in the secondary for receivers.
The Armed Forces Bowl is like: that old t-shirt you found in the back of the closet. You haven't worn the thing in a long time, and it's no longer in fashion, but it still fits and it's awfully comfortable.