A quarterback’s offensive show, a visit by a former President, and a 50-yard trail of feces defined this game.
SMU home games are great, especially because of the pregame Boulevarding that lubricates the fan base before kickoff. But, the arrival of a former president took tonight’s game to a higher rank. In advance of the coin toss, President George W. Bush and First Lady, Laura Bush, emerged from the team tunnel. After shaking hands with servicemen along the sidelines, he was announced to a crowd roar as he approached the 50-yard line to flip the coin. The Presidential couple live in the area, and Laura attended SMU. With Navy being the opponent, his presence made sense.
SMU led the entire game as Navy continued to threaten from behind. Mustang quarterback, Tanner Mordecai, produced 410 yards and four touchdowns in the 40-34 victory over the Midshipmen. A strong representation of Navy fans had much to cheer for during the game, but their beloved Middies fell short. Students and band members punctuated their loss with chants of “Start the Boat” from the stands. SMU ended a three game skid that they hope will keep them on the path to a postseason bowl. Lighting the tower red after this victory was a relief to the Mustang faithful.
However, this game might be most remembered for a mascot’s defacation disaster. Peruna, SMU’s black Shetland pony mascot, is run out onto the field after each Mustang touchdown. After one of Mordecai’s second half scores, Peruna began the traditional gallop with an unexpected blooper. The little black pony was leaving a blotchy brown trail behind it. Multiple mounds of dung stretched from the end zone to midfield causing handlers to scoop the poop in a fifteen minute delay.
A beautiful Dallas evening in Gerald J. Ford Stadium offered many headlines. Now, 2-3, SMU’s season is growing promising and all on a special night with President Bush in attendance. If the pony taught this team anything, it’s to simply charge ahead and not to look behind.