Scenes From SMU's 38-21 Victory Over UConn on Saturday at Ford Stadium.
“Well, we won,” Southern Methodist University head coach June Jones announced to the crowd that gathered for his post-game press conference on Saturday. “We made it, as we always do, a little harder than it's supposed to be.”
SMU never trailed the win-less University of Connecticut at Ford Stadium — the Mustangs led the Huskies by 14 points on two separate occasions in the game before ending things up by 17 — but UConn kept the game closer than the final 38-21 score would indicate, taking advantage of unfortunate SMU penalties and a consistent run game from running backs Lyle McCombs and Max DeLorenzo.
The Mustangs held strong, though, led by senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who continued his high-powered offensive production on the season with four touchdown passes and 353 throwing yards on the day. Still, it took him some time to find his footing: The Mustangs struggled on their first three drives, turning the ball over on downs once and punting away the ball the other two times. After the game, Gilbert credited the UConn defense's employing of schemes that SMU hadn't seen on film for his team's early offensive struggles.
In the end, though, the Mustangs' offensive firepower would eventually prove too much for the Huskies.
With the win, the Mustangs moved to 4-5 on the season and 3-2 in the American Athletic Conference, keeping their potential for bowl-eligibility alive.
SMU needs to win at least two of its final three games to become bowl-eligible this season and join its regional counterpart, The University of North Texas, in possible postseason play.
SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) leads the team captains out to the field.
The SMU Mustangs run into Ford Stadium to face conference opponent UConn for the first time since 1989.
SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) is pressured by UConn linebacker Jefferson Ashiru (32). Gilbert was sacked twice in the game.
SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert frustratingly trots toward the bench after a three-and-out in the first quarter.
SMU linebacker Jordan Miller (57) dives at UConn wide receiver Deshon Foxx (4).
SMU linebacker Kevin Pope (3) eyes UConn's offense before the snap. Pope led the Mustangs with 11 tackles.
SMU wide receiver Keenan Holman (81) battles UConn defensive back Byron Jones (16) off the line of scrimmage.
SMU wide receiver Jeremy Johnson (15) celebrates after a touchdown catch. Johnson caught 12 passes for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
SMU defensive back Kenneth Acker (21) attempts to wrap up UConn receiver Deshon Foxx (4).
UConn tight end Sean McQuillan (4) toe taps a catch on the goal line for a touchdown.
SMU wide receiver Deion Sanders Jr. (2) returns a kickoff against UConn. Sanders Jr. totaled 83 yards on four kick returns.
SMU running back Prescott Line (29) stiff arms UConn defensive back Byron Jones (16).
SMU wide receiver Jeremy Johnson (15) is tripped up by UConn defensive back David Stevenson (3)
UConn running back Lyle McCombs (43) spins away from SMU linebacker Stephon Sanders (23). McCombs averaged 6.1 yards per carry on 17 rushes for 103 yards.
UConn wide receiver Geremy Davis (85) and SMU defensive back Kenneth Acker (21) challenge each other at the line of scrimmage.
SMU wide receiver Keenan Holman (81) catches a pass against UConn defensive back Byron Jones. Holman caught eight passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert (11) attempts a pass in the face of UConn defensive tackle Angelo Pruitt (56).
UConn quarterback Casey Cochran (12) attempts a pass on a rollout. Cochran threw two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by SMU linebacker Stephon Sanders.
SMU linebacker Randall Joyner (5) celebrates the 38-21 victory over UConn. Joyner tallied nine tackles against UConn.