As the 2011-2012 Bowl Season for college football continues to wind down, another non-BCS Bowl Game takes center stage in the early part of this weekend; this time around, it’s the BBVA Compass Bowl between the SMU Mustangs and the Pittsburgh Panthers. Jeremy Bennett–better known around the web as JBHuskers–played as Southern Methodist in today’s guest entry for the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL here at STAT BOX STORIES.
The story of this game was in the hands of these two wide receivers for SMU. WR #88 (left) and WR #3 (right) combined for 17 catches, 380 yards, and five touchdown passes.
When you talk about college football, any storylines that come about leading up to a bowl game should always be about the student athletes; however, the coaching carousel was making its rounds through both teams prior to this bowl game. Pittsburgh’s head coach only stuck around for one season as he took the Arizona State job. That same Arizona State job was rumored to be filled by the SMU head coach before the Sun Devils pulled a 180. By some strange twist of fate, these two teams lock up in the BBVA Compass Bowl. This game features Pittsburgh, who won two out of its last three games to become bowl eligible at 6-6, and SMU, who is finally starting to emerge from the death penalty they received, to go 7-5 on the year.
Both Pitt and SMU are in the middle of the road in scoring points this season (69th and 71st respectively), Pitt struggles in the passing game, and SMU struggles in the running game. That could mean a recipe for a pitcher’s duel, but this game was anything but. There were 28 points scored in the first quarter alone, 21 of them by Pitt as SMU failed to get their feet on the ground. WR #87 for Pitt had a monster first quarter by grabbing two touchdowns, including this 54-yarder to put Pitt up 21-7:
The second quarter was the WR #88 show. The defense finally stepped up for SMU, and the offense took off like a rocket in their Run & Shoot offense. WR #88 had two TD receptions of 14 and 19 yards; however it was the NINETY EIGHT yard touchdown reception that was most impressive. Just to put it into prospective, here’s a look at the play from the end zone where the touchdown was scored, followed by a replay of the score:
After putting up 49 points combined in the first half, the defenses stepped up in the 3rd quarter. There was a lot of back and forth play, jostling for field position. The only breakthrough of the half was the amazing 5th touchdown pass from QB #2 of SMU. There has been a lot of talk of the wide receivers in this game, but none of it was possible without the pay from QB #2. The beneficiary of the 5th TD pass was WR #3 who pulled down his 2nd TD grab of the game with this 51-yd reception:
The fourth quarter saw a comeback attempt by Pitt. They pulled within seven on this 1-yd touchdown run by QB #12. The funny thing about the end of this play is QB #12 was expecting to have to dive over someone to get into the end zone, only to find out he was all alone.
SMU was playing the clock after QB #12 pulled Pitt within one score. The story of the offense was the run game was non-existent the entire game; therefore, the game would rest in the accuracy of QB #2. They were able to drive down into Pitt territory, and K #18 was able to knock down a 26-yard field goal, after missing his previous two field goal attempts in the game. Pitt would answer with a long touchdown pass to pull within three, but the SMU defense held strong forcing a three and out, followed up by forcing an incomplete pass on fourth down to give the Mustangs the BBVA Compass Bowl win.
The loss gave Pitt a losing season for the first time since 2007, and gave SMU an 8-win season for the second time in three seasons. The player of the game could have gone to WR #88 for his second quarter performance alone; however, it was the overall body of work by QB #2 that earned him the player of the game as he went 23 for 37 for 466 yards and 5 TD.
For the second straight guest contribution, JB puts together a high-scoring offensive performance for the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL here at STAT BOX STORIES. Only one game remains before the 2012 BCS National Championship Game–the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl–so be sure to come back tomorrow as we continue to hurtle towards the end of the college football season!
Guest Author Bio:
Jeremy Bennett–also known as JBHuskers on the Playstation Network, XBOX Live, and everywhere else–is an EA SPORTS Game Changer currently located in Lincoln, Nebraska. He was inducted into the initial EA SPORTS Game Changers group that was formed in January 2010. Jeremy has been a part of community days for the NCAA Football, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR, and EA SPORTS MMA titles, along with providing input on past titles within the Madden and NBA series. Jeremy is also the co-founder and co-administrator for The Gaming Tailgate (www.thegamingtailgate.com) which launched in May 2010. The Gaming Tailgate’s goal is to be the best NCAA Football community site on the web, and to be the ultimate resource for active NCAA Football community members. You can find Jeremy on Twitter (@JBHuskers) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/JBHuskers).