Nov 14, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune (3) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the South Florida Bulls at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Trying to rebound, SMU hosts Houston

The disappointment was palpable for SMU following its loss at Tulsa last Saturday, a defeat that featured the Mustangs blowing a 21-point lead and cratering down the stretch.

The 28-24 setback cost the Mustangs their No. 19 national ranking and served as a stark reminder of what accompanies heightened expectations. For a nascent program like SMU, preparing to absorb the strongest blow from every opponent requires a mindset that takes time to fully cultivate.

It’s a reversal that SMU coach Sonny Dykes hopes his team can learn from. And it needs to happen quickly, heading into Saturday’s American Athletic Conference home game against Houston.

“We’ve just got to continue to understand that we’re going to have a target on our back when people play us,” Dykes said as his team tries to secure its eighth victory, which would mark back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time since 1983-84. “When you play as a ranked team you’ve got to do a good job of getting up and playing at a high level every week. Our guys are starting to figure that out and starting to learn it.”

SMU (7-2, 4-2 AAC) will host Houston (3-3, 3-2) at Ford Field looking to rebound and keep its slim conference title hopes alive. The Mustangs’ conference losses came against No. 7 Cincinnati and No. 25 Tulsa, both of whom are undefeated in conference play.

The Mustangs can’t afford another setback, and that reality comes with a certain amount of pressure that is becoming familiar for an ascendant program seeking to reclaim a measure of respect. The manner in which SMU prepares for Houston will reflect how the players are embracing the challenge.

“Bouncing back, our guys are fine,” Dykes said. “We’re used to playing big games. Every single game is a big game for us.

“I think that’s where we’re starting to be as a program where we expect to play at a high level. That’s a good thing and that’s where we want to be as a program.”

The Cougars snapped a two-game skid with their 56-21 win over South Florida, racing to a 28-0 halftime lead and extending that advantage by two more touchdowns before the Bulls finally scored.

On the heels of their run defense surrendering 300-plus yards to UCF and Cincinnati, the Cougars needed a result that boosted their collective self-esteem. Houston got exactly that.

“That was a game that we kind of needed because we just needed to be able to have a little bit of fun with it,” Cougars coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We obviously did that, and it should give us some confidence to be able to have a little bit more fun here this Saturday.”

Central to the Cougars’ bounceback was the performance of junior quarterback Clayton Tune, who rushed for a career-high 120 yards in the victory. With their depth at receiver sapped by injuries, including that of standout senior Marquez Stevenson, the Cougars turned to the running game.

Tune delivered, and despite six dropped passes, managed to throw for 165 yards and three touchdowns.

“Him in the running game was outstanding,” Holgorsen said. “We schemed some things up and looked really good. He was very patient. His position where he needed to be was really good. His decision-making was really good. His patience running and protecting himself was really good as well.”

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

Sportsbooks

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Rated 5/5

Upcoming Games

Sep 25th, 8:00 PM

Troy -23 -107

Louisiana-Monroe +23 -107

@

Sep 25th, 8:00 PM

Indiana -9.5 -107

WKU +9.5 -107

@

Sep 25th, 8:00 PM

UAB +4 -107

Tulane -4 -107

@

Sep 25th, 8:00 PM

Florida Atlantic +4.5 -107

Air Force -4.5 -107

@

Sep 25th, 8:00 PM

Hawaii -16.5 -107

New Mexico State +16.5 -107

@

Sep 25th, 9:00 PM

New Mexico +3 -107

UTEP -3 -107

@

Sep 25th, 9:30 PM

California +9.5 -107

Washington -9.5 -107

@

Sep 25th, 10:15 PM

USF +23.5 -107

BYU (15) -23.5 -107

@

Sep 25th, 10:30 PM

Arizona +27.5 -107

Oregon (3) -27.5 -107

@

Sep 25th, 10:30 PM

Oregon State +10.5 -110

USC -10.5 -110

@

Sep 25th, 10:30 PM

Colorado +13 -110

Arizona State -13 -110

@

Sep 30th, 7:30 PM

Virginia

Miami-FL

@

Oct 1st, 7:30 PM

Houston

Tulsa

@

Oct 1st, 8:00 PM

Iowa (5)

Maryland

@

Oct 1st, 9:00 PM

BYU (15)

Utah State

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Arkansas (16)

Georgia (2)

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Tennessee

Missouri

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Pittsburgh

Georgia Tech

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Western Michigan

Buffalo

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Texas 0 -110

TCU 0 -110

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Duke

North Carolina (21)

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Toledo

Massachusetts

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Charlotte

Illinois

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Memphis

Temple

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Minnesota

Purdue

@

Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Michigan (19) +4.5 -107

Wisconsin (18) -4.5 -107

@

Oct 2nd, 12:30 PM

Louisville

Wake Forest

@

Oct 2nd, 2:00 PM

Appalachian State

Georgia State

@

Oct 2nd, 2:00 PM

USC

Colorado

@

Oct 2nd, 2:30 PM

Louisiana-Monroe

Coastal Carolina (17)

@

Oct 2nd, 2:30 PM

Eastern Michigan

NIU

@

Oct 2nd, 2:30 PM

Cincinnati (8) +1.5 -107

Notre Dame (12) -1.5 -107

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Troy

South Carolina

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Ole Miss (13) +16.5 -110

Alabama (1) -16.5 -110

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Oregon (3)

Stanford

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Florida International (FIU)

Florida Atlantic

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Syracuse

Florida State

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Bowling Green

Kent State

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Central Michigan

Miami-OH

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Ohio

Akron

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Texas Tech

West Virginia

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Oklahoma (4)

Kansas State (25)

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

UCF

Navy

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Nevada

Boise State

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Tulane

East Carolina

@

Oct 2nd, 3:30 PM

Ohio State (10)

Rutgers

@

Oct 2nd, 3:33 PM

Florida (11)

Kentucky

@

Oct 2nd, 3:33 PM

Mississippi State

Texas A&M (7)

@

Oct 2nd, 4:00 PM

Arkansas State

Georgia Southern

@

Oct 2nd, 4:00 PM

USF

SMU

@

Oct 2nd, 5:00 PM

Army

Ball State

@

Oct 2nd, 5:30 PM

Washington State

California

@

Oct 2nd, 6:00 PM

UNLV

UTSA

@

Oct 2nd, 6:00 PM

LA Tech

NC State

@

Oct 2nd, 6:30 PM

Southern Miss

Rice

@

Oct 2nd, 6:30 PM

Air Force

New Mexico

@

Oct 2nd, 7:00 PM

Kansas

Iowa State (14)

@

Oct 2nd, 7:00 PM

Baylor

Oklahoma State

@

Oct 2nd, 7:00 PM

Marshall

Middle Tennessee

@

Oct 2nd, 7:00 PM

Liberty

UAB

@

Oct 2nd, 7:30 PM

Boston College

Clemson (9)

@

Oct 2nd, 7:30 PM

UCONN

Vanderbilt

@

Oct 2nd, 7:30 PM

WKU

Michigan State (20)

@

Oct 2nd, 7:30 PM

Northwestern

Nebraska

@

Oct 2nd, 7:30 PM

Indiana

Penn State (6)

@

Oct 2nd, 8:00 PM

Louisiana-Lafayette

South Alabama

@

Oct 2nd, 9:00 PM

Washington

Oregon State

@

Oct 2nd, 9:00 PM

Auburn (23) +3.5 -110

LSU -3.5 -110

@

Oct 2nd, 9:00 PM

Old Dominion

UTEP

@

Oct 2nd, 10:30 PM

Arizona State +3.5 -107

UCLA (24) -3.5 -107

@

Oct 2nd, 10:30 PM

New Mexico State

San Jose State

@

Oct 2nd, 11:00 PM

Fresno State (22)

Hawaii

@