2008 SMU Mustangs Season
SMU WR Emmanuel Sanders
SMU WR Emmanuel Sanders
Posted Jan 17, 2009

2008 SMU Mustangs Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 SMU Mustangs

Nov. 29
Southern Miss 28 … SMU 12
Southern Miss became bowl eligible by overcoming a sluggish first half to get a 44-yard Gerald Baptiste touchdown catch in the third and a three-yard Damion Fletcher run as part of a 21-point outburst to put the game away. SMU managed two Thomas Morstead field goals in the second quarter, but it didn't get into the end zone until late in the fourth on a four-yard Justin Willis catch. The two teams combined for 20 penalties with SMU committing 11.
Player of the game: Southern Miss QB Austin Davis completed 15-of-26 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 11 times for 50 yards.
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 26-49, 253 yd, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chris Butler, 8-17. Receiving: Justin Willis, 11-88, 1 TD
Southern Miss - Passing: Austin Davis, 15-26, 212 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Damion Fletcher, 19-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Gerald Baptiste, 4-65, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... With just 257 yards of offense, with four on the ground against Southern Miss, the SMU offense simply didn't work as expected. To close with a clunker and with little from the passing attack, this has to only be seen as a stepping-stone season and a learning process. One interesting thing did come out of the game. Justin Willis, the former SMU star quarterback, made 11 catches and actually looked like a real, live receiver. He's too athletic to keep off the field, but not dependable enough to count on as the starting quarterback.

- 2008 SMU Preview
- 2007 SMU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record:

Aug. 29 at Rice L 56-27
Sept. 6 Texas State W 47-36
Sept. 13 at Texas Tech L 43-7
Sept. 20 TCU L 48-7
Sept. 27 at Tulane L 34-27
Oct. 4 at UCF L 31-17
Oct. 11 Tulsa L 37-31
Oct. 18 Houston L 44-38
Oct. 25 at Navy L 34-7
Nov. 8 Memphis L 31-26
Nov. 15 at UTEP L 36-10
Nov. 29 Southern Miss L 28-12

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Sept. 3 Texas Tech L 49-9
Sept. 8
North Texas W 45-31
Sept. 15 at Ark St L 45-28
Sept. 22 at TCU L 21-7
Sept. 29
UTEP L 48-45 OT
Oct. 13 at So Miss L 28-7
Oct. 20
Tulane L 41-34 OT
Oct. 27 at Tulsa L 29-23
Nov. 4 at Houston L 38-28
Nov. 10
Rice L 43-42
Nov. 17 UCF L 49-20
Nov. 24 at Memphis L 55-52 3OT

Nov. 15
UTEP 36 … SMU 10
Trevor Vittatoe threw for 410 yards and three touchdowns starting out with an 85-yard scoring pass to Kris Adams, who later caught touchdown passes from 11 and 24 yards out. SMU's offense turned it over six times and didn't get into the end zone until the fourth quarter on a Bradley Haynes 27-yards catch. UTEP outgained SMU 544 yards to 201.
Player of the game: UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 21-of-31 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 9-24, 95 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Andrew McKinney, 4-36. Receiving: Zach Zimmerman, 4-49
UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 21-31, 410 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Donald Buckram, 7-45. Receiving: Kris Adams, 5-145, 3 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The passing game is getting worse as the season has gone on. It's not like the UTEP defense is stopping anyone, but it made SMU look like awful as there wasn't any yards after the catch and it didn't allow Bo Levi Mitchell to set up and fire. SMU doesn't have a ground game to rely on with when the passing game isn't working, so the game was essentially over after the first quarter. With a week off, the Mustangs have to come up with something before dealing with Southern Miss.

Nov. 8
Memphis 31 … SMU 26
Curtis Steele and Brandon Ross each ran for over 100 yards as Memphis rolled up 306 yards on the ground, but it was a battle until the end. Logan Turner filled in for an injured Bo Levi Mitchell and threw two touchdown passes to Cole Beasley including an eight-yarder with 38 seconds to play. Memphis held on to the ball for 36:56 but couldn't control the game with Turner getting hotter and hotter as the game went on. Mitchell and Emmanuel Sanders hooked up for a 53-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Player of the game: Memphis RBs Curtis Steele and Brandon Ross ran 41 times for 234 yards and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Logan Turner, 19-31, 228 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Andrew McKinney, 7-25. Receiving: Cole Beasley, 6-66, 2 TD
Memphis - Passing: Brett Toney, 9-19, 130 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Steele, 19-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Carlos Singleton, 3-71, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... SMU's run defense is what it is … awful. It doesn't matter who's running the ball, he'll produce against the Mustang defense, but the offense showed that it can stay in any game when the passing game is working. Memphis couldn't handle Logan Turner, who proved to be a more-than-capable fill-in for an injured Bo Levi Mitchell. However, at 1-8 and without a win over an FBS team, the Mustangs could use something positive to build on. Passing yards are nice, but the results aren't there.

Oct. 25
Navy 34 … SMU 7
Navy didn't attempt a pass as Ricky Dobbs, the third string quarterback, ran the ball 42 times in a driving rainstorm and led the way to a 404-yard rushing day from the Midshipmen. Dobbs scored from 2, 5, 1 and 7 yards out and Shun White tore off a 23-yard touchdown dash as Navy controlled the game from the start and kept SMU's passing game off the field. The Mustangs had the ball for just 17:28 and managed a four-yard Aldrick Robinson touchdown catch in the third. SMU finished with just 144 yards of total offense and -13 rushing yards.
Player of the game: Navy QB Ricky Dobbs ran 42 times for 224 yards and four touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 16-28, 157 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Bryce Lunday, 5-24. Receiving: Aldrick Robinson, 7-94, 1 TD
Navy - Passing: None
Rushing: Ricky Dobbs, 42-224, 4 TD. Receiving: None
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... This week's game against Navy was why the June Jones offense sometimes doesn't work, and sometimes is a detriment. In the rain and wind, the passing game didn't do anything to keep the chains moving, but the loss wasn't all on the offense. The defense couldn't figure out the Midshipman running game couldn't get off the field. Despite no threat of being thrown on, the defense time and again couldn't come up with the big stop needed to stop the bleeding. Now there's a week off before dealing with Memphis and UTEP, two winnable conference games.

Oct. 18
Houston 44 … SMU 38
Case Keenum connected with Tyron Carrier for the game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass with 24 seconds to play to cap a 21-point fourth quarter rally. Bo Levi Mitchell threw four touchdown passes and ran for another as SMU jumped out to a 21-7 lead and was up until the final minute. Aldrick Robinson caught touchdown passes from nine and 70 yards out in the third quarter, but the Cougars dominated the fourth quarter with Keenum running for a nine-yard score and Bryce Beall scoring from one-yard out before the final 85-yard drive. Beall finished with three rushing scores and 105 yards on the ground as part of the 535-yard day from the Cougar offense.
Player of the game: Houston QB Case Keenum completed 28-of-36 passes for 404 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran for a score.
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 29-39, 354 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Andre McKinney, 8-41. Receiving: Aldrick Robinson, 8-186, 2 TD
Houston - Passing: Case Keenum, 28, 36, 404 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Bryce Beall, 22-105, 3 TD. Receiving: Mark Hafner, 10-160
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... SMU will eventually start to win games like the one it gave away to Houston. On the positive side, Bo Levi Mitchell and the SMU passing game is getting better and better, but three turnovers and 11 penalties turned out to be a problem and the defense couldn't come up with a stop late to pull off the win. This is going to be a process to become a big-time Conference USA team, but the Mustangs are getting closer and closer as the season goes on.

Oct. 11
Tulsa 37 … SMU 31
Down seven going into the fourth quarter, Tulsa got two touchdowns in just over a minute as Trae Johnson caught a 33-yard pass and A.J. Whitmore ran for an eight-yard score to give the Golden Hurricane the win. SMU played well as Bo Levi Mitchell threw four touchdown passes including a 77-yarder to Emmanuel Sanders and an 18-yarder to Aldrick Robinson. But Tulsa always had an answer with Slick Shelley catching touchdown passes from 15 and 40 yards out and Jarod Tracy hitting three field goals. The two teams combined or 1,071 yards of offense, with Tulsa getting 602 of them.
Player of the game: Tulsa WR Slick Shelley caught six passes for 105 pounds and two touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 19-34, 318 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Chris Butler, 9-95. Receiving: Emmanuel Sanders, 6-132, 1 TD
Tulsa - Passing: David Johnson, 17-30, 281 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tarrion Adams, 21-121. Receiving: Slick Shelley, 6-105, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... SMU is getting better. Bo Levi Mitchell bombed away against Tulsa and hung toe-to-toe with the nation's most productive offense. Emmanuel Sanders continues to be a devastating deep threat, while the defense, while giving up over 600 yards, did a good job of stiffening up time and again to give the team the lead going into the fourth quarter. A more experienced team would've found a way to close; that'll come. Now the offense has to keep cranking with Houston and Navy up next.

Oct. 4
UCF 31 … SMU 17
Michael Greco came off the bench and found Brian Watters for a 56-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and he put the game away for UCF with a 15-yard scoring pass to Kyhmest Williams in the final minutes. SMU had its moments with Aldrick Robinson scoring on a 94-yard pass play and Andrew McKinney ran for a one-yard score, but four turnovers proved to be a problem. UCF only gained 280 yards of total offense, but it took advantage of the mistakes.
Player of the game: UCF RB Ronnie Weaver ran 25 times for 123 yards and a touchdown, and he caught a pass for eight yards
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 29-45, 351 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Chris Butler, 3-19. Receiving: Aldrick Robinson, 10-210, 1 TD
- Passing: Michael Greco, 4-8, 94 yds, 2 TD
Ronnie Weaver, 25-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Brian Watters, 3-83, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Bo Levi Mitchell continues to improve … sort of. He's starting to come up with more big plays, but he threw three interceptions against UCF. He'll have to keep on bombing thanks to a defense that can't come up with a clutch stop. The attack had better be geared up and ready to roll with Tulsa and Houston up next.

Sept. 25
Tulane 34 … SMU 27
Andre Anderson finished with 219 yards with a one-yard score, and Jeremy Williams caught a 51-yard touchdown pass and Alan Mitchell caught a 23-yard pass for a score as Tulane got out 31-7 halftime lead. SMU owned the second half with Bo Levi Mitchell throwing two of his three touchdown passes, including a 13-yarder to Terrance Wilkerson with just over two minutes to play to pull the Mustangs within seven. Tulane got the on-side kick and ran out the clock.
Player of the game:
Tulane RB Andre Anderson ran 36 times for 219 yards and a touchdown, and he caught four passes for 38 yards.
Stat Leaders: Tulane
- Passing: Kevin Moore, 19-24, 254 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Andre Anderson, 36-219, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeremy Williams, 6-124, 3 TD
- Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 21-44, 256 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Thomas Morstead, 1-34. Receiving: Emmanuel Sanders, 9-115, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Yeah, SMU is all about throwing the ball under head coach June Jones, but there has to be some semblance of a running game. When kicker Thomas Morstead is the team's leading rusher, with 34 yards on his one play against Tulane, then the ground attack isn't working. On the plus side in the loss to the Green Wave was the way Bo Levi Mitchell got the offense making plays in the second half. While Mitchell wasn't always sharp, he made a few big plays and gave a glimpse of what the offense can potentially become.

Sept. 20
TCU 48 … SMU 7
TCU coasted after getting out to a 34-0 lead helped by two four-yard touchdown runs from Joseph Turner and a 24-yard interception return for a score from Jerry Hughes. SMU broke the run with a four-yard Cole Loftin touchdown catch late in the third quarter, but TCU made it a blowout with a Marcus Jackson one-yard touchdown pass to Evan Frosch and a 79-yard touchdown dash. SMU was held to -8 yards rushing.
Player of the game: TCU LB Cody Moore made five tackles, two sacks, four tackles for loss, and an interceptions
Stat Leaders: TCU - Passing: Andy Dalton, 16-25, 210 yds
Rushing: Marcus Jackson, 7-115, 1 TD. Receiving: Aaron Brown, 4-60
- Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 20-36, 218 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Chris Butler, 2-5. Receiving: Emmanuel Sanders, 6-62
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The offense still isn't clicking, but that's mainly because the offensive line wasn't able to provide any time against TCU for Bo Levi Mitchell to operate. Mitchell moved the offense a little bit, but three turnovers and too many misfired on third downs proved costly. Again part of the problem was a lack of time for Mitchell to work, and he won't get a lot more to work with next week against Tulane and its decent defensive front.
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense is dominating. Granted, SMU doesn't run the ball, but TCU never let the Mustangs think about a ground game thanks to yet another big game from the defensive front. The offense got back Aaron Brown and the running attack was effective, but that was mostly due to the scrambling of Marcus Jackson in garbage time including a 79-yard touchdown dash. Against Oklahoma, the defensive front has to be fearless. It'll be all about the pressure into the backfield, and this group might be able to do it.

Sept. 13
Texas Tech 43 … SMU 7
The Texas Tech offense worked, and SMU's didn't. Michael Crabtree scored from 23, 47 and 50 yards out, and Graham Harrell threw touchdown passes to Edward Britton and Detron Lewis as part of a 43-0 Red Raider run. SMU finally got on the board with a seven-yard Aldrick Robinson touchdown catch late in the fourth. The Mustang attack was outgained 693 yards to 274 with the Red Raiders throwing for 513 yards.
Player of the game:
Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree caught eight passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Texas Tech
- Passing: Graham Harrell, 31-48, 418 yds, 5 TD
Rushing: Baron Batch, 10-98, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Crabtree, 8-164, 3 TD
SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 13-24, 155 yds, 5 INT
Rushing: DeMyron Martin, 10-33. Receiving: Emmanuel Sanders, 8-125

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... So the June Jones offense needs a tad more work. SMU only threw for 213 yards against Texas Tech and had no prayer of keeping up in the firefight. The hope has to be for Bo Levi Mitchell to grow into his job, and while he's going to make mistakes, throwing five interceptions, he has to start making more big plays to show that he's the one to build the offense around. The one positive continues to be Emmanuel Sanders, who continues to be a true No. 1 target after catching eight passes for 125 yards.

Sept. 6
SMU 47 … Texas State 36
True freshman Bo Levi Mitchell threw five touchdown passes with four coming in the first half, but SMU had to hold on. Emmanuel Sanders caught scoring passes from 21, 8, and 35 yards out, and Aldric Robinson scored from 32 and 34 yards out, but Texas State mounted a major comeback effort with Clint Toon throwing four touchdown passes to get the Bobcats within nine late in the fourth, but SMU hung on. Robinson and Sanders combined for 16 catches for 300 yards and five touchdowns.
Player of the game:
 SMU QB Bo Levi Mitchell completed 24-of-37 passes for 370 yards and five touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 24-37, 370 yds, 5 TD
Rushing: DeMyrton Martin, 7-44, 1 TD Receiving: Aldrick Robinson, 8-172, 2 TD
Texas State - Passing: Clint Toon, 19-27, 225 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Karrington Bush, 15-111, 1 TD. Receiving: Cameron Luke, 6-121, 3 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... That's what the June Jones offense is supposed to do. SMU's passing game rolled over Texas State as Bo Levi Mitchell looked like a quarterback the program can build around for the next four years. However, the defense needs work. Lots of work. Texas State converted 12-of-15 third down chances and outgained the Mustangs 465 yards to 431.

Aug. 29
Rice 56 ... SMU 27
Chase Clement threw six touchdown passes including three to Jarett Dillard as Rice overcame an early 13-0 deficit to go on 56-7 run to blow the game away. The Owl defense also got in the act with a 55-yard interception return for a score from Andrew Sendejo. SMU's new June Jones offense cranked out 326 passing yards, but it turned the ball over five times. Bo Levi Mitchell threw three touchdown passes.
Player of the game: Rice QB Chase Clement went 24-of-37 for 258 yards and six touchdown passes, and he also led the team with 87 yards rushing on 13 carries.
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 25-43, 244 yds, 3 TDs, 3 INTs
Rushing: DeMyron Martin, 8-28. Receiving: Emmanuel Sanders, 8-121, 1 TD
Rice - Passing: Chase Clement, 24-37, 258 yds, 6 TDs
Rushing: Chase Clement, 13-87. Receiving: Jarett Dillard, 7-89, 3 TDs

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
The one-sided loss to Rice provided ample evidence that the Mustangs have a long way to go under first-year head coach June Jones. After jumping out to a 13-0 lead on a couple of Bo Levi Mitchell touchdown passes, reality set in and the defense was shredded by the Owl passing attack. Although the offense will get better as the season progresses and WR Aldrick Robinson looks like a keeper, SMU won't start winning until the defense can significantly improve.     

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Taylor Thompson DE 6-6 237 Fr. Prosper, Texas/Prosper
Ranked as the No. 37 by Scout.com and No. 41 by ESPN.com… A three-star prospect… A member of Dave Campbell's Super Team and All-Texas High School Team… Chose SMU over Vanderbilt, Colorado State and Oklahoma State… Caught 22 passes for 375 yards and a touchdown as a senior.

Potential Instant Impact Players

Andrew Ellison DL 6-2 232 Fr. College Station, Texas/A&M
A three-star Scout.com prospect from A&M Consolidated… Ranked as the nation's No. 57 tight end by Scout.com and No. 76 by ESPN.com …  Had offers from Tulsa and Houston… Runs a 4.5 40

Bo Levi Mitchell QB 6-1 199 Fr. Katy, Texas/Katy
A two-star Scout.com prospect… Threw for 2,451 yards and 37 TDs with only four interceptions as a senior… Led his high school squad to an undefeated season  and a state championship… Named to the Houston Chronicle's Houston Top 110... Chose SMU over an offer from Hawai'i

Rest of the Class
Chris Banjo DB 5-10 191 Fr. Sugar Land, Texas/Kempner
Cole Beasley SLOT 5-9 171 Fr. Little Elm, Texas/Little Elm
Zach Boyd OL 6-4 251 Fr. Dallas, Texas/Highland Park
Jimmy Chase OL 6-2 244 Fr. Garland, Texas/North Garland
E.J. Drewery WR 6-6 199 Fr. Chesapeake, Va./ASC
Josh Emshoff OL 6-4 271 Fr. Lufkin, Texas/Lufkin
Jordan Free OL 6-2 292 Fr. Baton Rouge, La./Parkview Baptist
Kevin Grenier DE 6-4 243 Fr. Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe
Evan Huahulu DL 6-1 300 Fr. Anaheim, Calif./Servite
Victor Jones LB 6-0 213 Fr. Richland, Texas/Richland
B.J. Lee SLOT 5-5 160 Fr. Ridgeland, Miss./Ridgeland
Zach Line LB 6-1 208 Fr. Oxford, Mich./Oxford
Cole Loftin SLOT 6-0 174 Fr. Aledo, Texas/Aledo
Bryce Lunday SLOT 5-8 178 Fr. Sheridan, Ark./Sheridan
Deyon McElroy DB 6-0 182 Jr. Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Chaffey CC
Blake McJunkin OL 6-2 256 Fr. Plano, Texas/Plano
Sidney Nwangwu OL 6-4 314 Fr. Midland, Texas/Midland
Alex Odiari LB 6-0 253 Jr. Carrollton, Texas/Collin County CC
Robert Parker DE 5-11 219 Fr. Humble, Texas/Humble
Torlan Pittman DL 6-0 275 Fr. Bryan, Texas/Bryan
Keith Robinson DB 5-8 164 Fr. Atco, N.J./Winslow Township
Andrew Robiskie OL 6-1 285 Fr. Chagrin Falls, Ohio/Chagrin Falls
Braden Smith QB 6-0 191 Fr. Rockwall, Texas/Rockwall
Ryan Smith DB 5-11 171 Fr. Houston, Texas/Lamar
Quincey Whittington SLOT 5-8 159 Fr. Cuero, Texas/Cuero

2007 Recap

What was billed as a bust out year for the Mustangs wound up being just a colossal bust that ended with a single win, a 10-game losing streak, and a vacancy at head coach.  Easily the biggest disappointment in Conference USA, SMU lost five times by a touchdown or less, and was never able to overcome a rebuilt defense that yielded almost 500 yards and 40 points a game.  Although the program severed ties with sixth-year coach Phil Bennett on Oct. 28, it took until early January before athletic director Steve Orsini pried June Jones away from Hawaii.         

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Justin Willis

Defensive Player of the Year: S Bryce Hudman

Biggest Surprise: With a lame duck coach and absolutely nothing but pride to play for in the finale, the Mustangs went toe-to-toe with 6-5 Memphis before falling, 55-52.  The defense was predictably feeble, but the offense cranked out a season-high 564 yards and seven touchdowns in the school's third overtime loss of the year.    

Biggest Disappointment: In a season crammed with heartbreaking losses, the Oct. 27 loss at Tulsa was especially painful and poignant.  In the last straw for Bennett, the Mustangs failed to punch in the game-sealing score with two minutes left, and allowed the Hurricane to drive the length of the field for the winning touchdown.        

Looking Ahead: What now?  After coming so close to a bowl game in 2006, SMU regressed badly in 2007, finishing 1-11.  There's hope with the arrival of Jones and the return of the multi-dimensional Willis, but if the Mustangs don't get more help from the defense, their bowl drought will continue in 2008. 


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