It could be a long first game for interim SMU football coach Tom Mason and his Ponies Saturday against Texas A&M at Ford Stadium.
Not only are the Mustangs still reeling from the sudden resignation of former head coach June Jones, they’re facing the No. 6 team in the nation in A&M (3-0). And the Aggies are coming off an imperfect game against Rice they still won by 28 points.
"It was the first time offensively things didn’t go according to script," Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin said on the SEC weekly teleconference. "It’s a good thing, particularly when you win a game by four touchdowns."
That doesn’t bode well for SMU. Even though the Aggies didn’t play up to their lofty expectations against Rice, they still scored 38 points. Texas A&M ranks fourth nationally in total offense, averaging 595.7 yards a game, and fourth in scoring offense at 54.3 points a game.
A&M gets an SMU team that’s 0-2 and has scored one touchdown total in lopsided losses to Baylor and North Texas. While the Aggies have a top-five offense, the Mustangs rank 125th and dead lost among FBS schools in total offense, averaging just 171.5 yards a game. But Mason was able to turn the awful start into a positive after taking over for Jones during SMU’s bye week last week.
"Their message to me is ‘Come on coach let’s go,’" Mason said of his team’s attitude with him at the helm. "We can’t sit her and cry about it. We can’t get much lower than we were at North Texas. There’s no place to go but up."
If the Mustangs are to go up Saturday they’ve got to find a way to slow down Texas A&M sophomore Kenny Hill. Two years ago Texas A&M went to Dallas behind Johnny Manziel and crushed the Mustangs 48-3. That was the day the Aggies told the media about the Johnny Football nickname.
Hill also has a catchy nickname in Kenny Trill thanks to his breakout performance against South Carolina and the quick start by the Aggies.
The Southlake Carroll product has already become the first QB in school history to throw for more than 1,000 yards in the first three games of a season and he ranks in the top 20 nationally in nine different QB statistics.
And Sumlin believes he’s still getting better.
"I think he’s gotten better every week," he said. "We’re starting to give him more offense every week. I think he’s been steady and reliable and really that’s what you’d ask out of a young quarterback."