The SMU Mustangs score a record-breaking Homecoming Day win, 59-49 over the Temple Owls
DALLAS, TX Garrett Gilbert and the SMU Mustangs showed once again they will not quit after coming from 21 points down to beat the Temple Owls 59-49 on Homecoming Day. Gilbert had a massive day, completing 37 of his 53 pass attempts for 538 yards and 4 touchdowns. The SMU quarterback added two rushing touchdowns, finishing with 97 yards on the ground while not turning the ball over or being sacked.
SMU (3-4, 2-1) fell behind 28-7 in the second quarter after taking an early 7-0 lead on a Traylon Shead 11-yard touchdown run on the game’s first drive. Temple (1-7, 0-4) scored the next 28 points on three touchdown passes from quarterback P.J. Walker and one from wide receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick hit wide receiver Robby Anderson for an 83-yard touchdown on a trick play from the Owl’s 17-yard-line that put Temple up 14-7.
The game had big play after big play, but the biggest might have been Keenan Holman’s 19 yard touchdown grab from Gilbert with 49 seconds left in the first half. That pitch and catch made the score 28-14 Temple. “Basically I told them we gave them everything they had,” said SMU Head Coach June Jones. “I challenged our defense to stop them on the first series and then if the offense scored on their first series then we were going to win the game.” The team took heed to what Jones said, and pulled to within seven 28-21 after an 8-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a Der’ikk Thompson 19-yard touchdown pass from Gilbert. Thompson caught the ball after Holman, the intended receiver, juggled it, leaving it up in the air for Thompson to snag and stroll to paydirt.
Temple would take a 35-21 lead on the ensuing drive that took just five plays, ending with a 6-yard touchdown run by Walker that followed a 50-yard run by Owl’s running back Zaire Williams. Walker had an enormous day himself calling plays for Temple, throwing for 293 yards and four touchdowns while chipping in 92 yards on the ground and the one touchdown.
SMU finished the game accounting for six of the next seven scores capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Gilbert with 2:36 left on the clock. The win was the second in a row for the Mustangs after losing to Rutgers October 5 in triple overtime. SMU came from three scores down in the fourth quarter against the Scarlet Knights to send that game to overtime. It could have been easy for SMU to lose focus and confidence for the remainder of the season after such a heartbreaking loss, but that has not happened and this time the comeback held.
“I am really proud of the guys,” said Gilbert. “Obviously we’d love not to get down 28-7, which I think was in the first quarter, but our team has a never say die attitude and we just continued to fight all afternoon long. We got that big score before half and then were able to turn on the jets in the second half.” The Mustangs will look to keep up the attitude in Cincinnati after a week off.
- SMU set team records for total offense (728 yards), passing yards (538), first downs (34) and passing first downs (24).
- The 21-point comeback ties for the second-biggest in program history.
- SMU had two receivers with 150 yards or more for the first time; Keenan Holman had 209 and Der’ikk Thompson had 158
- SMU did not allow a sack for the first time since November 11, 2012 vs. Southern Mississippi.
- Deion Sanders Jr. had a 87-yard kick off return, the 16th longest in school history and the 2nd longest non-touchdown kick off return.