SMU football continued its quest for the American Athletic Conference championship with a 69-10 home win over Tulsa at a soaking-wet Gerald J. Ford Stadium to become bowl-eligible on Saturday.
The Mustangs got another impressive outing from their defense, and the offense moved the ball up and down the field at will all game.
“I’m just really proud of our guys,” head coach Rhett Lashlee told the media postgame. “They were ready to play. Our coaches did a great job having them ready. The weather and all that pregame didn’t bother them, and they started fast.”
SMU’s offense took control of the game from the start as quarterback Preston Stone connected with wide receiver Romello Brinson for a 74-yard touchdown on the Mustangs’ second play from scrimmage, and running back Tyler Lavine added a rushing touchdown after the defense came up with a fourth-down stop.
Tulsa responded to Lavine’s touchdown with its best drive of the day, reaching the SMU 17-yard line with several completions to wide receiver Devan Williams. The drive stalled at the 17-yard line, and Tulsa kicked a 34-yard field goal to get on the scoreboard.
However, SMU’s offense continued to do whatever it wanted, using deep passes to get down the field and scoring another touchdown on the ground. As Tulsa tried to stay in the game, SMU’s defense came up with a momentum-clinching interception for a touchdown to go up 28-3.
After another interception, Stone threw another long touchdown pass to tight end R.J. Maryland as part of a 24-point second quarter that led the Mustangs to a 52-3 halftime lead.
SMU’s backups played the second half and added 17 points while continuing to limit the Tulsa offense.
Stone finished the game with 371 passing yards and three touchdowns on 15-of-20 passing in less than two quarters, while SMU’s running backs combined for five touchdowns.
WHAT TO KNOW
— SMU improved to 6-2 on the season and 4-0 in the American Athletic Conference, taking a brief lead over No.22 Tulane and Texas-San Antonio, who both play later Saturday, for first place. The Mustangs are now bowl-eligible for their fifth consecutive season.
— SMU has won four consecutive games since a loss to TCU. The Mustangs remain undefeated at home this season and are 22-4 at Gerald J. Ford Stadium since 2019.
— Stone set a new career-high for passing yards in a single game.
— SMU started playing its backups late in the second quarter.
— The Mustangs are now 17-13 all-time against Tulsa.
BY THE NUMBERS
— SMU outgained Tulsa 638-247 and averaged 20.3 yards per completion.
— SMU has outscored AAC opponents 189-36 this season and 124-10 over the last two games.
— SMU has scored at least 43 points in its last three wins over Tulsa.
— The Mustangs are 6-0 when scoring at least 30 points this season.
— Stone on SMU’s improvement throughout the season: “To come out and play the way we played today was really special and just a testament to the work that we put in this week. I think we’re really starting to hit our stride and come together. So it’s about to get really fun.”
— Defensive back Isaiah Nwokobia on the defense’s mentality: “We’re confident because we know we’re putting in the work. We’re going out there, [and] we’re expecting to dominate and to hold opponents down. We gave up those three points. We weren’t happy about that, and we just said, ‘We’re going to go out there. We’re just going to try to finish the game and make sure they don’t score anymore.'”
— SMU (6-2, 4-0 in the American Athletic Conference) plays Rice (4-3, 2-1) in Houston at 6:30 p.m. CT next Saturday.