By Dylan Edwards, SMUMustangs.com
In the season opener, SMU raced out to a big lead and never had to respond to some adversity. In week two against North Texas, the Mustangs saw themselves in a quick 10-0 hole early in the first quarter. SMU (2-0) responded in a big way by rolling off 38-consecutive points to blow past the Mean Green, 54-32.
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DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 09: Southern Methodist Mustangs wide receiver Courtland Sutton (16) runs to the end zone during the game between the SMU Mustangs and North Texas Mean Green on September 9, 2017, at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by George Walker/DFWsportsonline)
North Texas had no answer for Courtland Sutton, as he tied the SMU all-time record with four receiving touchdowns to go on top of his huge 163-yard night. His performance led SMU to its second-consecutive game with 50 points for the first time in school history.
“He had an edge about him before the game,” Morris said. “In a game like this, you ask your playmakers to step up and make plays. He did that. He showed why he’s an All-American and one of the best wide receivers in all of college football.”
After the slow start by SMU’s defense, they clamped down on North Texas to give the offense time to build a huge lead. The first two drives of the game saw North Texas pick up 89 yards and pick up 10 points. Over North Texas’ next eight drives, the Mustangs allowed zero points and 122 yards.
“You knew you were going to have to withstand their surge,” Morris said. “They were going to have a push early on. We were going to get their best swing. As we said at halftime, we took their best shot. The games are long and you just have to stay the course.”
The running game was what fueled last week’s win against Stephen F. Austin. Against North Texas, it was all about the passing game. Ben Hicks logged his fourth-career 300-yard game and set a career-high in passing touchdowns with four. D.J. Gillins also added a 76-yard touchdown strike to boost SMU’s passing total for the game to 394 yards.
Sutton grabbed the headlines, and rightfully so, with his four-touchdown performance, but Trey Quinn definitely did his fair share of damage to the Mean Green secondary. His six catches and 96 yards both were the second-best mark on the team behind Sutton.
While the running game didn’t excel like it did in game one, it still made its mark on the game. Xavier Jones led the team in rushing with 7X yards. Most of those yards were on a 47-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to build SMU’s lead to 54-17.
North Texas’ offense did get back on track in the second half, but SMU never let up offensively to really let the Mean Green get back into the game. The Mustangs held a fourth quarter lead of as much as 37 in the victory.
The Mustangs are 2-0 for the first time since 2009 and travel across the metroplex to visit TCU next Saturday in the Battle for the Iron Skillet.
“Part of the vision of our program is to win the metroplex championship,” Morris said. “To do that, you have to win against the two teams you play. We won one of those tonight, and we have another one next week. We have a great opponent next week, a top-20 team. They’re well established. We have great respect for them. It’s a trophy game, so that’s a big deal.”