All season, SMU (4-2, 3-0 C-USA) has relied on complete team efforts to win games and that was again the case in Saturday night's 21-18 decision over Tulsa.
Sophomore quarterback Kyle Padron threw for 381 yards and three touchdowns on 27-of-40 passing, with all of his scoring strikes going to different receivers.
Padron distributed the wealth among his entire WR corps. Aldrick Robinson was the leading receiver, catching five passes for 118 yards (23.6 ypc). Darius Johnson added eight receptions for 102 yards and a TD, while Cole Beasley grabbed seven passes for 91 yards and a score.
Bradley Haynes (4-40) had the other touchdown reception for SMU, which next sees action at Navy (3-2).
The Mustangs got off to an inauspicious start Saturday night versus Tulsa (3-3, 1-2). Pinned at its own five-yard line after a penalty on the opening kickoff, SMU was forced into a three-and-out and Tulsa began its first drive with great field position -- inside SMU territory.
Quarterback G.J. Kinne scored the opening points of the game to finish off that initial Tulsa drive. Kinne, after faking a handoff, kept around the right side to give the Golden Hurricane its only lead of the game.
The Golden Hurricane offense, which came into the game averaging just under 40 points per contest, wasn't able to produce any more points until a field goal in the third quarter.
In fact, SMU's special teams thwarted two Tulsa field goal attempts during the game. Just last week, the Mustangs scored a touchdown on a blocked field goal attempt and the unit came up big again on Saturday night, as Margus Hunt and Kevin Grenier each swatted down FG attempts.
Trailing 7-0, SMU embarked on a drive that crossed the midfield stripe, but Tulsa safety Dexter McCoil intercepted a Padron spiral to halt the Mustangs.
Tulsa, which utilized its complex series of formations effectively in the early going, moved the chains from its own 13 into SMU territory -- setting up Hunt's field goal block.
The Golden Hurricane was slowed down on the aforementioned drive by the quartet of Taylor Reed, Jagared Davis, Pete Fleps, and Hunt. On three plays, Tulsa only managed two collective yards before Hunt batted away the field goal attempt by kicker Kevin Fitzpatrick.
Padron then ensured that SMU retained the momentum, leading the Mustangs on a quick drive that featured repeated completions to Beasley.
The drive culminated with a 22-yard TD pass from Padron-to-Johnson that evened the score at 7-apiece. Johnson hauled in the perfectly-placed aerial close to the goal-line and waltzed into the end zone.
The Mustangs flexed their muscles on defense for much of the remainder of the game. The signature play, perhaps, came as the first quarter ended. Kinne tossed a screen pass on 2nd-and-10 to HB Charles Clay, but the well-prepared SMU defense recognized and blew up the play for a loss. Davis took on two would-be blockers, enabling Sterling Moore to plant Clay behind the line of scrimmage.
Later in the second quarter, Padron once again turned up the pressure on the Golden Hurricane secondary.
Standing in his own end zone, the SMU field general exhibited gunslinger mentality by rifling a 29-yard pass to Robinson. The sophomore QB enjoyed excellent protection all night from his interior offensive line, which was largely responsible for the Mustangs amassing close to 500 yards of total offense.
An eight-play, 99-yard scoring drive -- kickstarted by the previously-mentioned completion to Robinson -- resulted in SMU taking the lead for good.
Robinson, Johnson, Haynes, and Zach Line all produced on the march, with Beasley eventually putting the icing on the cake on a 32-yard TD reception. Beasley caught the pass on a fairly-short route and did the rest himself, juking multiple defenders with a nifty stutter-step.
In the second-half, Tulsa -- trailing 14-7 -- was unable to move the ball on its first possession. SMU safety Chris Banjo broke up a third down pass and, following a punt, Padron struck again - this time hooking up with Haynes from 14 yards out at the 11:53 mark in the third.
Tulsa added a field goal later in the quarter and cut the deficit to three points (21-18) midway through the fourth on Kinne's three-yard run (and a Kinne-to-Clay two-point conversion), but SMU was able to run out the clock.
Line rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries (54 ypc), including a 23-yard draw that helped keep an SMU scoring drive alive.
Fleps had 10 tackles, while Davis chipped in with seven. Taylor Thompson brutalized Kinne throughout the game and hurried several passes.
Tulsa's leading rusher for the season, Alex Singleton, picked up 46 yards on six carries, but 30 of those yards came on one play. Damaris Johnson caught five passes for 63 yards for the Golden Hurricane.