Sonny Dykes and SMU found themselves in an interesting predicament in the waning minutes of their game against Louisiana Tech.
Tech was up 34-33 when Dykes and the Mustangs lined up to convert a 4th and 3 from their own 34-yard line. They failed to convert the critical down...however, Dykes managed to have all of his timeouts at his disposal.
That's where a head coach's mind goes into overdrive as we have to figure out the scenario that plays out that will allow us an opportunity to win the game with limited time remaining.
There was just over three-minutes left on the clock, and Dykes knew every second mattered. On top of how to use his timeouts, his focus shifted to the defensive calls they were going to need and their special teams prep.
"What you have to do is try to manage every single second, from what you call defensively to how you use your timeouts, to how you return the kickoff," Dykes shared after the game.
Dykes and the SMU defense held Louisiana Tech to a long field goal after using all three of those timeouts, as the deficit climbed to 37-33.
As the offense took the field, starting on their own 27 yard line after a squib kick, the plan on offense was to get a first down each pass attempt. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai completed three passes to move the ball about forty yards and they found themselves needing just 33 yards to score with 6 seconds left.
They were going to need a miracle Hail Mary to pull this one out.
SMU lined up in a 3x1 set, and Dykes shared after the game that the three receivers side is told to head to the near goal post to get set up. They had one receiver set to jump for the ball, and then one in front and one behind. Reggie Roberson was lined up on the single receiver side, and he came in to be on the side in case of a tip that way.
See the clip for how it played out, but Dykes said that Skip Holtz's squad defended it about as well as you could. A SMU receiver jumped up to tip the ball out from being plucked from the air by defensive backs, and it landed softly in the waiting hands of Roberson.
It looked perfectly executed. But what really set that moment in motion was the conscious, intentional decisions made by Dykes after that failed fourth down conversion to preserve every remaining second, and the pinpoint execution from that point forward of the plan.
Here's a few great looks at the at that final heave to the end zone, as well as some postgame comments from Dykes.