Reggie Roberson

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No. 15 SMU won’t have top WR Reggie Roberson vs. No. 24 Memphis

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For the biggest matchup in Week 10, the highest-rated Group of Five school this season won’t have one of its top playmakers at its disposal.

Earlier Saturday morning, No. 15 SMU head coach Sonny Dykes confirmed to ESPN that star wide receiver Reggie Roberson did not travel to Memphis and will not play against the No. 24 Tigers.  Roberson suffered a foot injury in the first quarter of last Thursday’s win over Houston and didn’t return, and was subsequently seen wearing a walking boot and getting around with the aid of crutches.

In the week leading up to tonight’s game, Dykes was vague about the extent or exact nature of the injury.

“Just a foot injury,” the head coach said. “We’re just kinda trying to evaluate to see how serious it is. It’s swollen and sore right now.”

This season, Roberson leads the Mustangs in receiving yards (803) and yards per catch (18.7).  His 43 receptions and six touchdowns are second on the team.

No. 16 SMU remains perfect with win at Houston

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No. 16 SMU’s perfect season lives for another week, barely. Sonny Dykes‘s Mustangs never trailed Thursday night in Houston, but two touchdown catches by Marquez Stevenson totaling 171 yards put the Cougars’ offense on the field with a chance to win the game — twice — inside the final three minutes. SMU’s defense held both times, and the Mustangs escaped with a 34-31 win.

SMU led 21-7 late in the first half before surrendering two late field goals, but the Mustangs wasted no time opening up their largest lead of the night when Patrick Nelson sacked Clayton Tune and forced a fumble, which SMU’s Richard McBryde recovered at the Houston 2-yard line. Xavier Jones pushed the Ponies’ lead to 28-13 one play later, but the 15-point cushion did not last long.

One play, in fact, as Stevenson caught the first of his two long touchdown passes, this one a 5-yard hitch at his own 30 that he raced 70 yards untouched to pull Houston within 28-20 at the 14:01 mark of the third quarter, 59 game seconds after the teams played a 21-13 first half.

From there, SMU’s shaky — the Mustangs came into Thursday night with 14 missed kicks — field goal unit came through with two field goals of 23 and 33 yards to give SMU a 34-23 lead with 8:56 to play.

When Rodney Clemons intercepted Tune — SMU’s third plus-territory takeaway of the game — the Mustangs had a golden opportunity to deliver a knockout blow. However, SMU could not move the ball and a 4th-and-8 completion to James Proche was called back for offensive pass interference, forcing a Trevor Denbow punt that was downed at the 4.

And for the second time of the second half, Houston needed only one play, one completion to Stevenson, to make it a game again, as Stevenson hauled in another short pass and raced all 96 yards for the touchdown. Tune’s pass to Christian Trahan brought Houston within 34-31 with 4:47 remaining. (Tune finished the game with 407 yards and two scores, both of the scorers and 211 yards — on five completions — were to Stevenson.)

SMU, which began the drive 1-of-6 on third down in the second half, converted a 3rd-and-7 from its own 16 but could not pull off a 3rd-and-10 from its 24, and the Mustangs punted the ball back to Houston with 2:21 left. Taking over at its own 24, Houston moved 20 yards in its first two snaps but advanced no further, as Tune fired incomplete on three straight passes to end the comeback effort 55 yards short of pay dirt.

SMU could not expire both of Houston’s two remaining timeouts, and Houston took over at its own 15 with 18 seconds and no timeouts. Tune hit Tre’von Bradley for 22 yards on the first play, and Jeremy Singleton for 18 yards on the second, taking the ball to the SMU 45 with four seconds left. On the final play of the game, a defense that came into the game second in the nation with 29 sacks recorded its seventh of the night, stripping Tune as time expired to secure the win.

SMU (8-0, 4-0 American) continues its best start since 1982’s 11-0-1 campaign and, perhaps more relevant and more impressive, matched the program’s most wins post-death penalty, pulling even with the 2009 and 2011 teams, both of which went 8-5. The victory also means SMU secured wins over TCU and Houston (3-5, 1-3 American) in the same season for the first time since 2005, and the second time since 1992.

The Mustangs accepted the ball to open the game and breezed down to a 1st-and-goal in just seven snaps, but then stalled out. Shane Buechele (20-of-38 for 203 yards with two touchdowns and one interception) threw incomplete on first down, and Xavier Jones (22 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns) was stuffed for a 1-yard gain on second down from the Houston 8-yard line. Buechele found Kylen Granson for six yards on third down, taking the ball to the 1, where Dykes elected to roll the dice. Buechele hit Reggie Roberson, Jr., on a pick play, but Roberson dropped the ball and SMU came up empty.

The teams traded punts on the next three possessions before SMU finally broke through, moving 85 yards in seven plays — aided by 30 yards of Houston penalties — setting up a 3rd-and-10 strike from Buechele to Proche for a 15-yard touchdown.

Houston then raced down the field even faster than SMU, gaining 31-yards on a pop pass from  Tune to tight end Trahan on the final play of the first quarter and then a 44-yard run by Mulbah Car on the first snap of the second quarter. Car’s run was ruled a touchdown, but replay brought it out to the 1. Bryson Smith completed the 5-play, 88-yard drive with a zone read keeper one play later, tying the game at 7-7 at the 14:28 mark of the second quarter.

The teams exchanged three-and-outs before Jones zigged and zagged 62 yards for a touchdown, putting SMU up 14-7, and then the Ponies’ defense brought out the bottle service when they recovered a backward pass by Smith, which slipped out of his hands just behind the Houston 47 and was recovered at the Cougars’ 32. Buechele put SMU up 21-7 five plays later with an 11-yard scoring toss to Granson.

Just as it seemed SMU had control of the game, a long drive and a turnover put Houston back in the game.

The Cougars gobbled up 6:18 of the 8:14 remaining in the second quarter to set up a 25-yard Dalton Witherspoon field goal, pulling Houston within 21-10. Amaud Willis-Dalton picked Buechele at the SMU 46 on the next offensive snap, allowing the Houston offense to set up a 34-yard Witherspoon field goal as time expired in the half.

No. 16 SMU leading Houston at the break, but Cougars lurking

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No. 16 SMU holds a 21-13 lead over Houston at the break in Space City.

The Mustangs accepted the ball to open the game and breezed down to a 1st-and-goal in just seven snaps, but then stalled out. Shane Buechele threw incomplete on first down, and Xavier Jones was stuffed for a 1-yard gain on second down from the Houston 8-yard line. Buechele found Kylen Granson for six yards on third down, taking the ball to the 1, where Sonny Dykes elected to roll the dice. Buechele hit Reggie Roberson, Jr., on a pick play, but Roberson dropped the ball and SMU came up empty.

The teams traded punts on the next three possessions before SMU finally broke through, moving 85 yards in seven plays — aided by 30 yards of Houston penalties — setting up a 3rd-and-10 strike from Buechele to James Proche for a 15-yard touchdown.

Houston then raced down the field even faster than SMU, gaining 31-yards on a pop pass from Clayton Tune to tight end Christian Trahan on the final play of the first quarter and then a 44-yard run by Mulbah Car on the first snap of the second quarter. Car’s run was ruled a touchdown, but replay brought it out to the 1. Bryson Smith completed the 5-play, 88-yard drive with a zone read keeper one play later, tying the game at 7-7 at the 14:28 mark of the second quarter.

The teams exchanged three-and-outs before Jones zigged and zagged 62 yards for a touchdown, putting SMU up 14-7, and then the Ponies’ defense brought out the bottle service when they recovered a backward pass by Smith, which slipped out of his hands just behind the Houston 47 and was recovered at the Cougars’ 32. Buechele put SMU up 21-7 five plays later with an 11-yard scoring toss to Granson.

Just as it seemed SMU had control of the game, a long drive and a turnover put Houston back in the game.

The Cougars gobbled up 6:18 of the 8:14 remaining in the second quarter to set up a 25-yard Dalton Witherspoon field goal, pulling Houston within 21-10. Amaud Willis-Dalton picked Buechele at the SMU 46 on the next offensive snap, allowing the Houston offense to set up a 34-yard Witherspoon field goal as time expired in the half.

Buechele closed the half 12-of-22 for 130 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while Jones rushed 10 times for 111 yards and a 62-yard touchdown.

Car, thanks to a handful of missed tackles, has carried Houston’s offense, rushing nine times for 98 yards.

Houston will receive to open the second half.

Pony Express keeps chugging as No. 19 SMU thumps Temple

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They’re (still) partying like it’s 1982 in Dallas, as No. 19 SMU rolled past Temple 45-21 to move to 7-0 for the first time in 37 years.

Shane Buechele threw for career highs of 457 yards and six touchdowns, with most of the damage coming to Reggie Roberson, Jr., as the pair hooked up seven times for 250 yards and three touchdowns. The first score came on a 33-yarder on the game’s opening drive, giving the Mustangs a lead they would not relinquish.

The pair’s longest connection effectively put the game away — a 75-yard bomb that gave SMU a 17-0 lead with 7:15 to go in the second quarter.

Temple managed to pull within 10 three times — 17-7, 24-14 and 31-21 — but each time Buechele answered with touchdown passes. The first came on a 10-yarder to James Proche with 20 seconds left in the first half, the second a 10-yard strike to Kyle Granson at the 8:22 mark of the third quarter, and the third a 60-yard connection to Roberson, putting SMU up 38-21 with 11:54 left in the game.

Buechele’s sixth and final touchdown was a 5-yard toss to running back Xavier Jones, who led all runners with 37 yards on 18 carries.

Temple (5-2, 2-1 American) had a chance to make a game of it in the first half, but a handful of crucial drops halted the Owls’ offense while the Mustangs managed to separate for good. SMU’s biggest advantage of the day was in simple possession of the ball: Temple ran 69 plays on the day, while SMU (7-0, 3-0 American) snapped it 108 times. SMU out-gained Temple 655-273 and held the advantage in first downs 34-15.

While SMU is 7-0 for the first time in nearly 40 years, the Mustangs have already matched their most wins in a season since 2011 and are two wins shy of the program’s high-water mark post-death penalty.

No. 19 SMU leading Temple at the half

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At the break in Dallas, No. 19 SMU holds a 24-7 lead over Temple.

The Mustangs have led throughout, opening the game with an 11-play, 77-yard touchdown drive. Head coach Sonny Dykes bypassed a 50-yard field goal opportunity to go for a 4th-and-1 from Temple’s 33, and Ke’Mon Freeman rewarded that decision with a 3-yard carry. Shane Buechele finished the drive two plays later with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Roberson, Jr.

Those two hooked up again in the second quarter when, leading 10-0, Roberson ran right past a Temple cornerback to snare a 75-yard touchdown grab, giving the Mustangs a commanding lead with 7:15 left in the first half.

Temple answered with a 7-play, 65-yard touchdown drive, scoring on a 1-yard Re’Mahn Davis plunge. The Mustangs, though, responded, piecing together a 9-play, 68-yard touchdown drive that saw Buechele hit James Proche for a 10-yard strike with 20 seconds left before halftime.

SMU has owned the scoreboard by owning the football. The Mustangs have run 61 plays to Temple’s 32, gaining 381 yards to Temple’s 108. Buechele is 19-of-31 for 330 yards and three touchdowns.

The Owls have not done themselves any favors, dropping a handful of passes that would have gone for chunks of yardage. Quarterback Anthony Russo has played better than his 7-of-14 for 59 yards would indicate. However, Temple has mustered only 31 yards on 12 rushing attempts.