For the Mustangs, and it is still weird to say this, it is an opponent they should handle easily. SMU (1-1) will face Washington State (1-1) today at 2:30 p.m. at Ford Stadium. The Mustangs are coming off a 28-7 win against Conference USA opponent UAB, while the Cougars had to come from behind to defeat Montana State.
Last season SMU traveled to Pullman, Wash., and looked to have the game under control after taking a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. But in the third quarter SMU quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell began having trouble telling the difference between white and red jerseys. Mitchell threw one interception in the third, led to a touchdown, two in the fourth, led to a touchdown, and one on the first play of overtime, led to the game winning field goal. The 39-yard field goal not only gave the Cougars their first win of the season, but it was the first time they had led at any point in three games to start 2009.
This season Washington State comes to Dallas, and Mitchell will be in the state of Washington. Mitchell transferred to Eastern Washington University after losing his starting job to sophomore Kyle Padron. Mitchell and the Eagles will be debuting their new red turf against Montana. This year the Mustangs will be looking to avenge that loss and do something they have not done since 2000, defeat a team from a BCS conference. The Mustangs defeated Kansas 31-17 in the first game at Ford Stadium.
SMU doesn’t quite have the swagger they held after beating Nevada 45-10 in the Hawaii Bowl in December. Padron doesn’t quite look like the same player who threw for 460 yards in that game, his timing appears to be off and he doesn’t seem comfortable in the pocket. But the Mustangs have shown glimpses of brilliance and determination. In the season opener against Texas Tech the Mustangs committed four turnovers, but still lost by only eight points, 35-27. And last week sophomore running back Zach Line wore out the UAB defense rushing for 122 yards and two touchdowns. The other two touchdowns in the 28-7 victory were passes from Padron to Darius Johnson.
If the Mustangs want to have success they need to score early. Against Tech they did not score until over half way through the second quarter on their eighth drive of the game, and against UAB it took four drives and until the end of the first quarter after losing the ball on downs, a fumble and a punt on their first three possessions.
With Jones' offense it is about scoring early and often and not giving the opponent a chance to ever catch up. The Mustangs will look to run away with another win today.