SMU: Can Mustangs Finish 2015 With Momentum?


The SMU Mustangs snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Tulane Green Wave in the final game of the year at Gerald Ford Stadium.

For first-year SMU head coach Chad Morris, the 2015 college football season has been a real journey, and not a pleasant one in most cases. But this inaugural trek for Morris is not complete just yet, and there’s still time for one more victory celebration.

At his point, just one more win would give SMU something they haven’t had all year. We can say that because the Mustangs were victorious for just the second time all season on Saturday night against the Tulane Green Wave at Gerald Ford Stadium in Dallas.

That something that’s been missing is momentum.

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Not that many cared to show up for the final home game on the schedule, but all the Ponies needed was lights to overwhelm a Tulane team that entered this contest with two more victories than SMU had on the season.

Quarterback Matt Davis and running back Xavier Jones were like a duo of tanks charging through a Green Wave defensive front that seldom had a clue against the Mustangs. Davis totaled 321 yards of total offense and Jones ran for 117 yards and caught three passes for 44 yards.

Yes, if Morris could draw up every game plan like this, he certainly would.

The 49-21 victory for SMU was their first win since all the way back on September 12 against the Mean Green of North Texas.

It’s good that SMU can handle teams that wear and bear the likeness of the color green – but their final opponent of ’15 happens to wear blue.

The Memphis Tigers began the season with a sparkling 8-0 record that threatened to create havoc where the College Football Playoff is concerned. But those days must seem like ages ago for Tigers head coach Justin Fuente.

The Tigers were beaten by the Navy Midshipmen back on November 7, and since that time they’ve yet to win another game. A one-point loss to the Houston Cougars the following week seemed to shut out the lights for the Tigers as they lost again on Saturday to the Temple Owls in Philadelphia.

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As strange as it may sound, SMU heads into its final game of the season coming off a win while its opponent rides a growing losing streak. Normally it’s the other way around, right?

Morris and company should smell blood and start throwing hay-makers against the Tigers right away.

In other words, the best time to kick an opponent is when they’re already down – and the Tigers are definitely down. Memphis entered the weekend ranked No.21 in the CFP poll, but they’ll certainly fall off the map completely following the loss to Temple.

For some programs, it’s not about whether or not you’ll play in a bowl game. For some it’s about trying to lay the foundation for next season. The Mustangs are simply trying to finish off a campaign that started off with some encouraging signs, but also one that shows that this program is still trying to establish itself as a credible football program again.

The best this team can do right now is to give Morris every bit of ammo and momentum they can in order to prepare for next season – and the one thereafter.

A defense will have to emerge in Dallas before SMU is ever going to be taken seriously – some will point out that conference affiliation will also need to change, and that’s likely true. Look at what joining the Big 12 has done for DFW neighbor TCU over in Ft. Worth just 45 minutes down I-30.

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But this is a step-by-step process for Morris, and it’s important to play for whatever you can accomplish today, and let tomorrow come when it comes. In terms of today, the sunset represents a trip to Tennessee to face a Memphis team that’s waiting for another loss, one that would certainly finish a difficult season on a very high note for SMU.

  • Published on 11/22/2015 at 16:25 PM
  • Last updated at 11/22/2015 at 16:26 PM