In a Thursday night matchup at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the SMU Mustangs secured a 31-10 victory against the East Carolina Pirates, though not without their fair share of challenges. Both teams entered the game refreshed, coming off bye weeks. However, Southern Methodist struggled initially, going three-and-out in their first three possessions. The game’s first touchdown came from Preston Stone, who found Key’Shawn Smith for a 21-yard score.
Photo Cred: Mass Live
Stone, who ended the night with an impressive 276 yards and three touchdowns, made a notable 48-yard pass to Jordan Kerley. He later connected with Roderick Daniels Jr. for another touchdown, deftly evading a corner blitz. The third quarter was quiet, marked by numerous punts and a missed field goal. However, the Mustangs’ defense shined in the fourth. They began by forcing and recovering a fumble, and Jonathan McGill (a notable transfer from Stanford) later sealed the deal with a pick-six. Stone also found RJ Maryland in the endzone, adding to SMU’s lead.
Mason Garcia, the ECU quarterback, faced significant pressure throughout the game. Southern Methodist has consistently demonstrated its ability to capitalize on turnovers this season, and this game was no exception. Garcia eventually got benched late in the game for Alex Finn. The Mustangs’ receiving corps has been instrumental this season, with seven different receivers accumulating significant yardage. Both Daniels and Maryland have been consistent endzone targets for Stone.
Photo Cred: ECU
In 2022, Daniels registered 22 receptions for 243 yards and three TDs, while Maryland had 28 for 296 yards and six TDs. With this win, SMU is well-positioned for a bowl game appearance as they approach mid-season. Given their track record, particularly in games where the defense forces turnovers, the future looks bright for the Mustangs.