Another frustrating day at Gerald J Ford stadium for the SMU Mustangs and the 16,849 fans that decided to come out on the Saturday afternoon. After scoring 24 points on the road last week against ECU, the Mustangs must have left their offense in Greenville NC as they were unable to get anything going on that side of the ball and were easily defeated by the Cincinnati Bearcats 41-3 to fall to 0-6 (0-2) on the season.
“Honestly I’m disgusted with how I played,” said junior quarterback Garrett Krstich who finished the day with 172 passing yards on 17-of-31 attempts. “I did some good things, but I expect more out of myself personally. In order to lead this team I need to perform on the field and I just felt like I made a couple too many mistakes and it showed on the scoreboard.”
One of those mistakes, a sack and subsequent 27 yard return for a touchdown by linebacker Nick Temple, came with one minute remaining in the first half and made the score 28-3. SMU finished the day with four total turnovers – including two interceptions by Krstich.
“When you got a team that’s struggling, it’s just one thing after another” said Coach Mason when asked about how deflating the turnover was before the half. “You can’t win football games playing the way we play.”
The performance on Saturday was a complete 180 degree turn from how they performed against the Pirates. Apparently there was no halftime speech from Mason to rally the team this time as SMU remained stuck in neutral in the second half. The offense only converted 2-of-6 third-down conversions and generated just 118 yards after halftime.
The 41 points by Cincinnati continues the streak of SMU allowing every opponent in 2014 to score at least 40 points on the season.
“I haven’t done a good job of getting the defense ready to play,” said Coach Mason. “I gotta really evaluate what we’re doing from a coaching standpoint, what I’m doing as a head football coach.”
One player that was ready to play was Cincinnati’s sophomore quarterback Gunner Kiel. On the day he passed for 241 yards on 13-of-20 passes and was allowed plenty of time to attack the SMU defense as he was only sacked once on the afternoon.
Collectively the Bearcat offense dominated every aspect of the game, but if head coach Tommy Tubberville wanted to find something to nitpick, it was the production from his running backs. On the day freshman Chad Banschbach rushed for 58 yards on 10 carries, but was the second leading rusher behind back-up quarterback Jarred Evans who ran for 67 yards on 10 carries. The next leading rusher was Kiel who also chipped in 50 yards on 6 carries.
While SMU attempted to run the ball more this game, 24 compared to 18 versus ECU, the production still did not reflect much success as the team combined for only 98 total yards – sophomore backup quarterback Matt Davis lead the way with 41 yards on four carries — unfortunately 40 of that came on one play.
Hopefully Coach Mason will have the defense ready to play this upcoming week as SMU hosts a 3-3 Memphis Tigers team that is led by quarterback Paxton Lynch. On the season the sophomore has passed for 1401 yards and has already tied his 2013 touchdown total with nine in only six games this season.