Matt Davis, freshman phenoms highlight SMU football’s Plays of the Year A look back: Year one of the Chad Morris era

As the college football season begins to wrap up, things on the Hilltop aren’t much different than they were this time last year.

However, unlike last year, SMU fans have multiple reasons to be excited about the future.

From the beginning, expectations for Chad Morris were unfair, but somehow realistic. After the team’s showings against the likes of Baylor and TCU, everyone dreamed that SMU would finish with a record better than 2-10, yet we can’t really be surprised that we find ourselves there now.

Morris was only hired last December, and had little time to try and piece together a recruiting class full of players designed to fit his program. What does this mean for the future? Morris has now had a full year to find and woo recruits that fit his coaching style. That being said, this incoming class, despite their talent and skills, will still be freshman on opening day – which translates simply to – Rome wasn’t built overnight.

If you can look past the team’s disappointing finish, there are still several reasons to be excited about next year aside from Chad Morris.

Matt Davis

It was a weird year for Davis. The first few games he looked phenomenal, picking apart defenses with his arm and running through them with his legs. However, as the season progressed he became less and less reliable.

Going into next year he should be the starter, and with some time to get used to the new coaching staff, I expect him to have a much more consistent year than he had this season.

Courtland Sutton

Quite possibly the most obvious player to be excited about. While Sutton’s consistency hinged on Davis, Sutton did it all. He threw the ball, ran solid routes, blocked downfield, and on more than one occasion, awoke his inner Odell Beckham Jr. hands and his Dez Bryant-like hops.

The best part about a player like Sutton is that he will only continue to get better. How he was not named to an AAC All-Conference team is beyond me…

RECEIVING  GP  No.  Yards  Avg   TD  Long  Avg/G 
SUTTON,Courtland  12  49  862  17.6  51  71.8 
Xavier Jones

Toward the end of the season, Jones began to exert himself as the dominant back over Braeden West and Prescott Line. While their roles are unclear going into next year, the starting job will most likely be his to lose.


Despite being awful for most of the season, SMU’s defense at times showed sparks of life and power. Against TCU, they forced two turnovers on downs, but the secondary was relatively ineffective all year.

The best part is, it only gets better from here.


Did we forget one? Let us know, and we’ll add it to the list!

Davis-Sutton against Baylor, 46-yard TD pass on SMU’s first play from scrimmage

Matt Davis breaks tackles, scampers 50 yards for the TD against UNT

Davis runs in for the near game-winning TD from 19 yards out against JMU

Xavier Jones trick play, passes to Xavier Castille for the TD against ECU

Justin Lawler sacks the QB and forces the fumble against Houston, McCleneghen with the recovery

Once again, Xavier to Xavier – Mustangs score TD on trick play against Tulsa

Against Temple SMU forced the safety, then returned the kick for a TD

Braeden West on the kickoff return

Against Tulane, SMU blocked a field goal and returned it for a TD

Courtland Sutton connects with Darius Joseph on the reverse WR pass

And last but not least, the famous “confused SMU bros.” after poor clock management against Baylor

(videos embedded from

1 year ago
Written by Jesse Carr
Jesse is journalism major at Southern Methodist University and co-founder of The Stable. A die hard Texan, Jesse loves Lonestar beer, tattoos, God, anything sports related, and contributes coverage of all SMU athletics.