It was a beginning of a new era on Wednesday night, in more ways than one.
The Sonny Dykes Era officially began for SMU on a December night in Frisco. Dykes moved across town from TCU and took over as the Mustangs head coach after Chad Morris left to become the new head coach at Arkansas just over a week ago.
The Mustangs still had business to take care of as they took the field at Toyota Stadium for the inaugural Frisco Bowl. Louisiana Tech made the trip to North Texas to take part in the fun.
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However, it wasn’t the best of starts for SMU. Running back Xavier Jones fumbled on the Mustangs first possession of the game. The defense was able to keep Louisiana Tech out of the endzone and off the scoreboard.
The luck wouldn’t last long. On the very next possession, SMU quarterback Ben Hicks would give the ball back to the Bulldogs with an interception. This time LaTech would take advantage when J’Mar Smith would fight his way into the endzone from one-yard out.
The turnover problem would continue for the Mustangs. A few minutes later, Amik Robertson would pick off Hicks and take it the other way for the 45-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 halfway through the opening quarter.
Once the first quarter ended, SMU found themselves in a 21-3 hole. The flood gates were officially opened.
It didn’t get any better in the second quarter. The Bulldogs once again intercepted Hicks and turned into immediate points, with Darryl Lewis stepping in front of the pass and cashed it in 23 yards later. SMU had a total of five turnovers in the first half.
Once halftime rolled around, Louisiana Tech built a 42-10 lead. The Bulldogs were rolling. SMU was stunned.
When the dust finally settled, the Bulldogs walked away with the 51-10 win.
“You can’t win the game when you have six turnovers,” Hicks said. “We had two pick-sixes in the first quarter. That’s just a recipe for disaster. “
It wasn’t exactly the debut that Dykes and the Mustangs hoped for. However, it’s been a crazy eight days. That’s how long Dykes has been on the job after Morris left for Arkansas. Plus, Dykes wasn’t exactly coaching before arriving at the Hilltop. He had an off-field role as an analyst at TCU.
Despite the loss, the vibes were positive moving forward with Dykes at SMU.
“This has been a learning experience for us,” Dykes said. “Chad left a solid program that is certainly heading in the right direction. There’s a lot of things that we’ve got to get better at. It was a good opportunity to evaluate where we are. I’m excited about being here at SMU. I think we have a very bright future.”
“SMU is in good hands with Coach Dykes,” said senior defensive end Justin Lawler. “He’s done a great job just communicating with us and being there for us. He’s going to take the hit for this loss but it’s really on us players.”