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Former Sooners quarterback Tanner Mordecai did not take long to prove he’s the right man under center for SMU. Mordecai tossed a program-record seven touchdowns in the Mustang’s 56-9 dismemberment of Abeline Christian on Saturday. A mark that also ties the American Athletic Conference single-game record per smumustangs.com.
The veteran quarterback looked comfortable in his Mustangs debut, throwing for 317 yards and no interceptions before being relieved by backup quarterback Derek Green. After spending three seasons as the backup in Norman, Mordecai appears to have rejuvenated his career back home in Texas.
His decision to transfer to SMU was made easier by his familiarity with Mustangs’ quarterback coach Garett Riley. The brother of Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley. After the first week of fall camp, Mordecai spoke to the media and explained that he excepted to win the starting job. His new teammates must have respected his confidence as he was also named team captain heading into the season.
In his 12 games for the Oklahoma Sooners, the four-star recruit tossed four touchdowns to just one interception. His best game of the 2020 season came against Texas, where he completed five of his seven passes for 52 yards in relief of Spencer Rattler. Mordecai played the final three series of the first half against the Texas Longhorns after Rattler was benched following his second turnover of the half.
When Mordecai announced last year that he would be entering the transfer portal, Riley told the media that he believes the quarterback is “ready to be a starter” and “will make somebody very happy.”
So far, Garrett Riley and head coach Sonny Dykes are very happy indeed. While it’s unrealistic to expect Mordecai to throw for seven touchdowns each week, his continued success should push SMU into the conference’s upper echelon in 2021.