Mustangs dominate first half, put away Bulldogs

FAMILIAR FOES: Former SMU defensive back Roderick Roberson (19) tries to sack Mustangs quarterback Preston Stone.  (Photo by EMERALD MCINTYRE, Louisiana Tech Athletics)


DALLAS — SMU used a handful of explosive plays to build a big halftime lead and cruised home to a 38-14 victory over Louisiana Tech Saturday at Gerald L. Ford Stadium.

While Tech (1-1) got shut out in the first half for the first time since 2020, SMU (1-0) put up 31 points through the first 30 minutes. The Mustangs almost doubled the Bulldogs’ production overall, with a balanced 457 total yards to only 248 – 209 passing – for the visitors.

“Disappointed with how we played,” said Bulldogs coach Sonny Cumbie. “We did not play well enough on offense. I thought our defense played physical. They flew around and made a lot of good tackles. We could not get into a rhythm on offense, causing pressure on us in the passing game.”

The ‘Dogs were primed to score first, with a 31-yard grab by Kyle Maxwell leading to a 51-yard field goal attempt that went wide right.

On the very next play, the Mustangs’ Preston Stone hit Jordan Hudson for a 67-yard touchdown up the right sideline to put SMU on the scoreboard with 4:25 remaining in the first quarter.

Two plays later, SMU got another touchdown, this one by its defense when Hank Bachmeier’s short pass was intercepted by Kori Roberson and returned for 16 yards and the score.

The Bulldog defense stopped the Mustangs inside their red zone on their next offensive possession, forcing a field goal. They also pinned SMU back inside its 10-yard line, forcing a punt. However, Louisiana Tech was called for an illegal substitution, giving the Mustangs a first down. They turned that into seven more points with 5:08 to go in the second quarter thanks in large put due to a 43-yard reception.

After the Tech offense stalled again at midfield, SMU got the ball back with only 30 seconds remaining in the first half. On the ensuing play, the Mustangs broke off a 67-yard run. Two plays later, SMU made it 31-0 with a 25-yard touchdown completion with just two ticks left on the clock.

Getting the ball first to start the second half, the Bulldogs needed just four plays to go 75 yards to get their first score of the game. All four were completions by Bachmeier, including a 53-yard connection with Koby Duru for the team’s first third-down conversion of the day.

That was the only scoring in the third quarter. The Mustangs were limited to a late touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tech tacked on another TD of its own with 26 seconds left in the game, a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Keith Willis Jr. that was set up by a 36-yard grab by Julien Lewis.
“We have a lot to improve on,” said Cumbie. “I have to help Hank get into a rhythm. We have to do a better job of getting the ball out of his hands. We were not able to do that today.”

The Bulldogs are home next Saturday night when old rival Northwestern State visits Aillet Stadium.