UCF 48, SMU 20: Mustangs dispatched in unsurprising fashion by nation's No. 12 team

Photo by Samuel De Leon

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Expecting the Mustangs to go into Orlando and defeat the No. 12 team in the nation was an unfair order, so very little about this result is surprising. But a bye week awaits, followed by a beatable opponent. In the meantime, three thoughts from the blowout.

A very good offense met a bad defense

The Knights are second in FBS in total offense. The Mustangs are 90th in total defense. It showed, as UCF tallied 541 yards of offense, and spread the damage, racking up 285 yards through the air and 256 yards on the ground. They wasted no time, jumping out to a 21-3 lead after the first quarter, and cruised from there. Sometimes a team is just better and further along in its development. There's probably not much else to say, other than UCF has reached a height in the American that certainly SMU hopes to achieve, and this is the type of game that shows just how far the program has to go.

Moral Victories

They don’t get you much, but they’re something. With 42 seconds left in the game, facing 4th and 13 from the UCF 20, William Brown hit James Proche down the sideline for a touchdown to pull the Mustangs within 28. It was one of those small moments in a game where coaches challenge players to make a play to build toward something in the future. It meant little on the scoreboard, but it’s a moral victory to hopefully build some confidence down the road. While we're here, a shoutout to Proche, who finished the game with 12 catches for 100 yards and two scores. 

There’s always Tulane, right?

The Mustangs now have two weeks to prepare for the Green Wave, a team that ranks 76th in S&P+, which is still much better than SMU’s 99th ranking, but offers a glimmer of hope for the future. Tulane head coach Willie Fritz’s usually potent offensive system has sputtered (by his standards) in the first half of the season, and may offer some inconsistency to level the playing field for an SMU offense that’s sputtered plenty itself.

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