The SMU Mustangs capitalize on nine Houston Cougars turnovers to get back into the win column
By Tommy Smith
DALLAS, TX The SMU Mustangs set a school record for points in a game on their way to beating the Houston Cougars 72-42 Thursday night at Ford Stadium on the SMU campus. The Mustangs put up a team record 10 touchdowns against the Cougars, who turned the ball over nine times in the ball game giving the Mustangs 25 forced turnovers on the season. That number is tops in the nation and includes 16 interceptions which also leads the country. The Mustangs scored four non-offensive touchdowns in the game. SMU had three interception returns for touchdowns and a fumble return on a kickoff for a score that set the tone for the blowout.
With the score tied 14-14 late in the second quarter, SMU scored two touchdowns in a span of :37 seconds to take a 28-14 lead into halftime. SMU wide Receiver Jeremy Johnson caught an 18 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Garrett Gilbert with 1:40 left in the second quarter. Then, on the ensuing Cougar’s drive, SMU linebacker Taylor Reed picked off a David Piland pass and returned it seven yards for his first career touchdown giving the Mustangs a 28-14 lead at the break.
SMU would add the next 17 points in the third quarter opening a 45-14 lead just three minutes into the second half. Gilbert finished the night with his best performance of the season for the Mustangs completing 23 of 38 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Darius Johnson joined Jeremy Johnson catching nine passes on the night. Running back Zach Line ran for 117 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns in the game giving him a total of 19 100+ rushing yard games in his career as a Mustang.
This was a must win game for SMU who came into the game losers of three of their last four ball games, while Houston had reeled of three wins in a row to overcome an 0-3 start and sit atop the Conference USA standings. Houston had won the last six meeting between the two schools and nine of the last ten. Thursday’s win was the first for the Mustangs over the Cougars in Dallas since 1992.
The win puts SMU (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) in the hunt to catch Tulsa who sits atop the C-USA West standings at (6-1,4-0 C-USA). The Mustangs host Memphis (1-5,1-1 C-USA) in their next game October 27th at 2pm. TW texas will televise the game.
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