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SMU 24, Tulsa 20 (PonyFans.com game story)

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SMU 24, Tulsa 20 (PonyFans.com game story)

Postby PonyPride » Sun Nov 12, 2000 4:01 am

Mustangs improve to 3-2 at home with 24-20 win over Tulsa

The SMU Mustangs won their third game of the season by beating the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa, 24-20, Saturday night at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The Ponies now are 3-2 all-time in their new home facility.

Junior Josh McCown, who started at quarterback after backing up David Page for the last three games, was efficient and productive leading the Mustangs’ offense, completing 14-of-19 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown (and one interception). McCown also had his best game of the year running the ball, rushing for 61 yards in the game, including a 28-yard touchdown.

The Golden Hurricane scored first when sophomore quarterback Josh Blankenship directed his team on a 12-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with Blankenship punching the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:55 left in the first quarter.

But the Ponies (3-7 overall, 2-4 against Western Athletic Conference opponents) responded in the second. McCown led the Mustangs on a nine-play, 63-yard drive that that was kept alive thanks in large part to a 29-yard pass from McCown to tight end John Hampton on third-and-9 that left the Ponies at the Tulsa 33. After a five-yard run by Kris Briggs, McCown took the snap, turned upfield, cut back across the grain of the Tulsa defense and raced 28 yards down the right sideline into the end zone. The score, with 3:44 left in the first half, was made possible by a hellacious block from Hampton, who took out two Tulsa defenders with his block.

“I’m not sure how I got there,” McCown joked after the game. “I know that our guys blocked (well) on the play, and I guess Tulsa must have had 10 guys fall down. And I know Hamp (Hampton) got two guys with his block. I guess it’s like a rabbit running for its life -- you turn on a little extra speed .... although I don’t know if what I had could be called ‘speed’.”

The teams traded possessions, after which the SMU defense stiffened. The Golden Hurricane got the ball back with exactly one minute left in the first half, but the Mustangs forced Tulsa to go three-and-out, and got a break when Tulsa’s Casey Lipscomb shanked an 11-yard punt that gave SMU possession on the Tulsa 34.

From there, McCown hit tailback Kris Briggs coming out of the backfield with a swing pass that Briggs took 17 yards before stepping out of bounds to stop the clock. On the next play, McCown spotted Hampton running a slant route into the end zone and hit his sophomore tight end with a 17-yard scoring strike.

In the third quarter, it was evident that the Mustangs were intent on establishing the run. After forcing Tulsa to punt, the Ponies marched 67 yards on 13 plays, on a drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by Briggs. During the drive, the Mustangs’ sophomore tailback from Carthage, Texas, carried the ball seven times for 23 yards. His touchdown, with 5:40 left in the third quarter, gave SMU a 21-7 lead.

Tulsa did not fold. With 10:33 left in the fourth quarter, running back Ken Bohanon (of Garland, Texas) scored on a 1-yard run on fourth down to pull his team to within a touchdown at 21-14. But SMU responded with a scoring drive of its own that resulted in a 42-yard field goal by Jacob Crowley -- just his second field goal of more than 40 yards this season.

Again Tulsa bounced back, scoring with 3:22 left on another short touchdown run by Bohanon. But placekicker Chris Earnest pushed the ensuing extra point attempt wide to the right, leaving the score 24-20, and meaning that a field goal no longer would tie the game.

“This was a great win for us,” SMU head coach Mike Cavan said. “The players and coaches kept going and kept fighting. They never quit -- you’ve got to see that.”

The Mustang defense was exceptional. Not only did the much-maligned SMU secondary hold its own against one of the nation’s top receivers in Donald Shoals, they also generated significant pressure on Blankenship with five sacks -- 4.5 of which came from the defensive line. Defensive tackle Lute Croy had a pair of sacks, defensive tackle Warrie Birdwell had 1.5, and defensive ends Markus Pratt and Kevin Aldridge and linebacker Vic Viloria each were credited with half a sack.

Pratt was back in the SMU lineup after missing a pair of games for an unspecified violation of team rules, and linebacker Billy Jack Williams made his first start of the season, after missing the first eight games of the season with a broken fibula and receiving limited playing time last week against Rice.

McCown’s 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the longest of his career at SMU. He and Briggs remained tied with a team-high three rushing touchdowns each this season.

McCown also said he benefitted from the three games he sat out.

“We’re having fun again as a team,” he said. “I just tried to correct some of the mistakes I made early in the season, like throwing into a crowd. I had one interception tonight, but other than that, I think I eliminated most of them.”

McCown also bristled at the notion that there might be a quarterback controversy with this team.

“There is no controversy,” he said. “I’d thrown eight picks in two games. Without losing any confidence in myself, they (the SMU coaches) had to shake it up. David (Page) came in and did a great job; he really picked us up.”

Cavan agreed that McCown played much better than he had earlier in the season.

“He played much calmer,” Cavan said. “He didn’t try to force things.”

(This game story will have it's own link Sunday.)

[This message has been edited by PonyPride (edited 11-12-2000).]
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Re: SMU 24, Tulsa 20 (PonyFans.com game story)

Postby 91Stang » Mon Nov 13, 2000 1:20 pm

Great story.
Great win.
Great job, Mustangs.
Go for two in a row this week in Fresno!
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Re: SMU 24, Tulsa 20 (PonyFans.com game story)

Postby PonyGirl » Mon Nov 13, 2000 2:04 pm

Once again, your site has the best info on the Ponies out there. Keep it up!
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