The 2010 season didn’t quite have the story book ending Mustang fans had hoped for. At 7-5, Kyle Padron and Company had earned a birth in the Conference USA Championship and were set to face Central Florida.
They came away 17-7 losers, and were relegated to the Armed Forces bowl. Unfortunately, due to the construction at Amon G. Carter stadium in Fort Worth (the host stadium for the bowl) the game had been moved to Gerald J. Ford stadium.
No team wants to (or should have to) play their bowl game in their home stadium, but that’s what SMU was about to do.
They faced off against Army, and despite having home field advantage the Mustangs lost the game 16-14. Senior kicker/punter Matt Szymanski pushed the go-ahead field goal right with four minutes left in the game, and the Mustangs couldn’t recover.
But with the 2011 season comes new hope. Hope in a returning quarterback and running back that led SMU to a top 20 offense in 2010.
- WR Aldrick Robinson
- CB Sterling Moore
- QB Kyle Padron
- RB Zach Line
- WR Cole Beasley
@ Texas A&M (9/4, Sunday); vs. UTEP (9/10); vs. Northwestern State (9/17); @ Memphis (9/24); @ TCU (10/1); vs. UCF (10/15); @ Southern Mississippi (10/22); @ Tulsa (10/29); vs. Tulane (11/5); vs. Navy (11/12); @ Houston (11/19); vs. Rice (11/26).
If SMU wants to improve on last year’s 7-7 record, they’ll have to improve their defense. The unit ranked in the 60s in 2010, and they’ve lost their best cornerback, Sterling Moore, to the NFL.
The two Chris’, Banjo and Castro, will be expected to pick up the slack, along with Brett Haness and Ryan Smith. Portland State transfer Cody Worthen and Syracuse transfer Randy McKinnon will also fight for playing time.
However, while the defensive backfield adapts to life after Moore, the offense will be expected to carry the load.
Kyle Padron threw for close to 3,900 yards in 2010, and he’ll be expected to do more of the same this year, despite losing 1,000 yard receiver Aldrick Robinson. While Robinson is a big loss, the Mustangs still have their other 1,000 yard receiver, Cole Beasley. Alongside Beasley, Bradley Haynes will be expected to step in and produce in place of Robinson.
Both the offense and defense won’t have long to adjust to the new faces in the starting lineup, however. SMU starts the season off against a Big 12 opponent for the second year in a row.
Last year, a heartbreaking 35-27 loss in Lubbock to Texas Tech got the season off to a rocky start. The challenge in 2011 gets even harder, as the Mustangs travel to College Station to take on 9th ranked Texas A&M. SMU has a good chance to win this game, but it’ll take a near flawless game on both sides of the ball.
I see the Mustangs going 7-5 or 8-4 this year. They definitely have talent, but teams like A&M, TCU and Central Florida still have an edge. The games between Southern Miss and UTEP are a toss up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see SMU win (or lose) both of those games.