In a thrilling Saturday night showdown, the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs kicked off their American Conference campaign with a resounding 34-16 victory over the Charlotte 49ers. Jaylan Knighton emerged as the hero of the night, donning the Mustangs’ shining armor with a remarkable performance that included rushing for two touchdowns and an impressive 150 yards.
Photo Cred: SMU
The Mustangs’ defense proved to be an impenetrable fortress, holding the Charlotte 49ers to a mere three points in the first half. Seeking a spark, Charlotte made a quarterback switch at halftime, replacing Jalon Jones with Trexler Ivey. Ivey wasted no time in injecting life into the 49ers’ offense, orchestrating a stunning 75-yard touchdown drive on his first possession of the night.
While Southern Methodist’s dominance was evident, the team had its share of challenges throughout the game. Penalties plagued the Mustangs, tarnishing an otherwise stellar display. The passing game left much to be desired, but the robust rushing attack was the anchor that kept SMU ahead. A total of 238 rushing yards were accumulated through three RBs, their QB, and a WR. One of the pivotal moments came in the fourth quarter, during a critical fourth-and-2 situation. SMU quarterback Preston Stone connected with RJ Maryland for a touchdown pass, reaffirming Maryland’s status as a reliable tight end entering this season.
Photo Cred: On3
As the night’s action drew to a close, Cale Sanders Jr. of SMU intercepted a pass from Ivey, allowing the Mustangs to run down the clock to 1:31. Even though possession was returned to the 49ers, they ultimately ran out of time. This victory marked a promising 1-0 start for SMU in the conference. A significant portion of these yards came from a breathtaking 95-yard run by Knighton during SMU’s first drive in the second half, leaving SMU fans with high hopes for the remainder of the season.
The SMU Mustangs have set a strong tone for their American Conference campaign, showcasing their prowess on both sides of the ball. With Jaylan Knighton leading the way and the defense proving its mettle, Southern Methodist fans have every reason to be excited about what lies ahead in the season. As the conference battles intensify, the Mustangs will aim to build on this convincing victory and gallop toward success.