When Southern Methodist University plays Michigan this Saturday, it will be the second ever matchup between the two teams. The first happened 65 years ago, with the Maize and Blue winning 27-16 in Ann Arbor.
This column focuses on recent history, but there is not a whole lot of bad blood — or any blood — between the programs.
The only meeting between the Wolverines and Mustangs came while SMU was still a member of the Southwest Conference, but they now find themselves in the somewhat new American Athletic Conference. This is good news for Michigan, who has found success in recent encounters with SMU’s peers in the AAC.
2013: Michigan 24, Connecticut 21 (East Hartford, CT)
After a 30-10 Michigan win over UConn in Ann Arbor, the teams met three years later for a rematch in Connecticut. A Brendan Gibbons field goal with under five minutes remaining gave Michigan its first lead since the first half, and the No. 15 Wolverines squeaked out a win to move to 4-0 on the season, although things went downhill pretty quickly from there.
Quarterback Devin Gardner had a rough outing, failing to throw for 100 yards and turning the ball over three times. He did carry the ball for 64 yards and a touchdown, but his passing left much to be desired. Fortunately, running back Fitzgerald Toussaint helped his struggling quarterback by scoring two second half touchdowns. He rushed for 120 yards on the day, which was his second-best outing of the year.
2016: Michigan 51, Central Florida 14 (Ann Arbor)
The 2016 UCF Knights were not quite yet the 2017 UCF Knights, and this was clear during their trip to the Big House. Michigan piled it on early and often, leading 21-0 after one quarter and 34-7 at half. Three different Wolverines scored twice, and quarterback Wilton Speight had an excellent second career start, tallying over 300 yards and a 68 percent completion rate to go with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Michigan’s stars dominated, as one would expect in a lopsided matchup. Wide receiver Amara Darboh hauled in touchdowns from 45 and 30 yards out. Tight end Jake Butt notched seven catches for 86 yards and two scores. Khalid Hill had one of his quintessential fullback stat lines: five carries for nine yards, two catches for nine yards, and two touchdowns.
Grant Perry with the breakaway speed, scoring a big TD for Michigan. pic.twitter.com/xgJpJYTYqN— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 9, 2017
2017: Michigan 36, Cincinnati 14 (Ann Arbor)
No. 8 Michigan beat Cincinnati by 22 last season, but the game was much closer than the score would suggest. The Maize and Blue led by just 10 points at halftime, and the defense reached the end zone as many times as the offense. A fumble by Speight and a muffed punt by returner Donovan Peoples-Jones highlighted the team’s overall sloppiness.
On the positive side, wide receiver Kekoa Crawford hauled in a bomb from Speight on the game’s first possession. Junior Grant Perry also scored in the game, which wound up being Michigan’s last touchdown scored by a wide receiver for the rest of season. Safety Tyree Kinnel and cornerback Lavert Hill each picked off Bearcats quarterback Hayden Moore and returned the interception to the house.