SMU Beats UConn

via SMU

DALLAS (SMU) – In conference play, everything tends to get a little more difficult. On Saturday in the conference opener, SMU proved once again its a team that can handle adversity by using three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to run past UConn 49-28.

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Southern Methodist Mustangs running back Braeden West (6) during the game between SMU and UConn on September 30, 2017, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, TX. (Photo by George Walker/DFWsportsonline)

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DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: Southern Methodist Mustangs running back Braeden West (6) during the game between SMU and UConn on September 30, 2017, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, TX. (Photo by George Walker/DFWsportsonline)

With 14:51 left in the fourth, SMU’s lead had vanished after UConn busted a 59-yard touchdown followed by a successful two-point conversion attempt. The game was tied at 28, and SMU needed an answer to stem the momentum the Huskies were building. The Mustangs found that answer. Quarterback Ben Hicks perfectly laid in a ball after All-American Courtland Sutton created separation for a 34-yard touchdown to immediately give SMU the lead back. On UConn’s next drive after the defense forced a stop, sophomore Ryan Becker climbed the ladder to block a punt and set up another scoring drive for the offense.

From that point on, it was all Mustangs. SMU scored on three consecutive drives after the Huskies tied it up to take control. More importantly, the defense clamped down on UConn hard. The Huskies final three offensive drives netted only 14 yards on 12 plays.




“It’s all about a response,” head coach Chad Morris said. “I’m extremely proud of this football team. This is a football game that would have been hard to win the last two years with where we were with our program. The way these young men responded today was huge. Games like this will do nothing but make us better and stronger.”

Through the first four games of the season, SMU’s offense had been the most explosive offense in the country. Nothing changed in game five. The Mustangs racked up 498 yards by being effective both through the air and on the ground.

Junior Trey Quinn had a career-day, grabbing 15 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns. Quinn set an SMU record for catches in a half with his 11 first-half receptions. Sutton also had a big game on-top of his momentum-shifting touchdown. He finished with seven catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

It’s no surprise given those numbers for receivers that Hicks also played exceptionally well. He completed a season-high 73 percent of his passes while tossing four touchdown passes, tying his career-high.

On the ground, the Mustangs committee of Xavier Jones, Braeden West, and Ke’Mon Freeman all averaged more than 5 yards per carry while picking up at least 65 yards. SMU’s depth and ability to be balanced makes the Mustangs so difficult to slow down.

The SMU defense found ways into UConn’s backfield consistently, finishing with eight sacks and 13 TFLs. Senior Justin Lawler finished with four sacks to tie the SMU program record. All those negative plays helped the Mustangs limit UConn to -8 yards rushing.

“We dominated the fourth quarter,” Morris said. “That’s what we train for, and we talk about that every day we’re on the practice field. What do we do in the fourth quarter when it matters the most? We had to win a game today in the fourth quarter.”

The Mustangs improved to 4-1 for the first time since 2011 and are 1-0 in conference for the first time since 2012. Next up for SMU is a road trip to Houston on October 7.