■ SMU stayed close, but an in­ter­cep­tion late in the first half hurt in a 45-20 loss to Michi­gan.

TD to close first half ‘killed us,’ Dykes says as Mus­tangs fall to 0-3

The Dallas Morning News - - Sportsday - By MICHAEL PERSAK Spe­cial Con­trib­u­tor

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Down by a touch­down late in the first half Satur­day, SMU was try­ing to an­swer No. 19 Michi­gan’s most re­cent touch­down.

Quar­ter­back Ben Hicks took the snap with 17 sec­onds left and threw to­ward the side­line, where ju­nior wide re­ceiver James Proche was run­ning a wheel route.

Hicks didn't see safety Josh Metel­lus ly­ing in wait, though. Metel­lus jumped the route, picked off the pass and streaked the other way with a con­voy of block­ers in front of him. Seventy-three yards later, the Mus­tangs were down two touch­downs with no time left.

From there, SMU had some of­fen­sive spark but ul­ti­mately couldn’t catch Michi­gan, los­ing 45-20 and fall­ing to 0-3.

“There’s a lot of things out there that we wish we could have done dif­fer­ent — plays we had over,” said Mus­tangs coach Sonny Dykes af­ter the game. “Ob­vi­ously, the last play of the first half killed us. … That was dis­cour­ag­ing.”

Af­ter the pick-six, Dykes went with fresh­man Wil­liam Brown at quar­ter­back in the sec­ond half.

Brown fin­ished 5 for 8 for 113 yards and a touch­down, and he led two long, me­thod­i­cal touch­down drives, the of­fen­sive high points for the Mus-

tangs.

“I know what kind of kid he is and what kind of con­fi­dence he’s got, and just the way peo­ple re­spond to him,” Dykes said of Brown. “You know, to me, it was re­ally a pretty easy de­ci­sion to make at that par­tic­u­lar time.”

Whether it was Hicks or Brown in the game, the main tar­get was Proche. He had eight catches for 121 yards and a touch­down. He nearly had an­other catch for a touch­down but was ruled out of bounds in the cor­ner of the end zone.

For Proche, Satur­day’s game had some ex­tra mean­ing to it.

Though he grew up in Dal­las, Proche spent three years liv­ing in Detroit. He said his un­cle was a Michi­gan fan be­fore con­vert­ing to SMU, and Proche char­ac­ter­ized his first trip to Michi­gan Sta­dium as a dream he’s had since he was a lit­tle kid.

With all of that, maybe it should be no sur­prise that Proche went off like he did, even with the com­pe­ti­tion level on the other side. Proche cer­tainly wasn’t sur­prised by it.

“I worked my butt off this sum­mer,” Proche said. “I feel like I’m one of the best re­ceivers in the coun­try. I ex­pected this to hap­pen. Coach put me in some great po­si­tions, my team­mates ran routes to get me open. Will and Ben did a great job, and our line pro­tected well.”

In the end, though, the Mus­tangs were done in by the sus­pect de­fense that doomed them against North Texas and TCU. This time, SMU had no an­swer for Michi­gan's pass­ing at­tack.

Wolver­ines quar­ter­back Shea Pat­ter­son threw for 230 yards and three touch­downs. When the Mus­tangs needed to make a stop, they couldn’t slow Pat­ter­son or re­ceiver Donovan Peo­ples-Jones, who caught all three of Pat­ter­son’s touch­down passes.

Louis DeLuca/Staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

Michi­gan’s Josh Metel­lus re­turns an in­ter­cep­tion 73 yards for a touch­down at the end of the first half. SMU quar­ter­back Ben Hicks is knocked down in pur­suit.

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