Dallas, Tx – To say that SMU was disappointed to end their winning streak last week against Memphis would be an understatement. Saturday, the team took the field at Ford Stadium with redemption on the agenda. After a full four quarters of competition, the Mustangs defeated the Pirates of Eastern Carolina 59 -51.
The powerful SMU offense arrived early and stayed late, however, Eastern Carolina brought with them a very powerful offense as well. For every SMU score, ECU followed up with a score. The back and forth battle was both entertaining and exhausting for the home crowd, which clearly didn’t expect such a high-powered ECU (3-7, 0-6 AAC) offense.
SMU quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 414 yards. ECU quarterback Holton Ahlers passed for 498 yards, connecting with feature receiver Tyler Snead for 240 of those yards. The incredibly offensive-heavy first half was so smooth that not a single flag was thrown to interrupt play.
The Mustangs started the scoring just minutes into the first quarter when Buechele connected with Kylen Granson in the back of the end zone. ECU would come right back with a 68-yard touchdown pass and then the back and forth ensued.
The second half played out like a scripted evening of NCAA on PS4. The first four possessions for Eastern Carolina resulted in three touchdowns and a field goal. And then SMU scored three touchdowns and a field goal.
At times both defensives appeared nonexistent. The onslaught of scoring was only interrupted by one particular error on special teams. ECU returner Jsi Hatfield dropped a kickoff that he was simply unable to fall on. Tyler Levine recovered the ball for SMU. The Mustangs would score a few minutes later and No. 25 SMU (9-1, 5-1 AAC) finally gained control and secured the difficult win.
Records were broken on Saturday. Several players had career days. While SMU was projected to defeat ECU by more than 20 points, it is important to note that of the 110 total points scored, SMU never trailed in this game.
“We were able to figure out a way to win the game,” Dykes said. “It’s hard to win every Saturday, it’s hard to win on Saturday. Hard to win nine games.”