Homecoming 2012: SMU vs. Memphis

Go smu!
Go smu!

Go smu!

Oct. 24, 2012

SMU Mustangs (3-4, 2-1 C-USA) vs. Memphis Tigers (1-6, 1-2 C-USA)

Saturday, October 27, 2012 - 2 P.M. CT

Gerald J. Ford Stadium (32,000)

Dallas, Texas

Time Warner Sports/SMU Radio Network/SMUMustangs.com

 

Setting The Scene

• SMU hosts Memphis for a 2 p.m. Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 27. SMU comes in on the heels of a school-record 72-point outburst against Houston and looks to move to 3-1 in C-USA play.

• Saturday's game is the second of three straight contests against future BIG EAST opponents for the Mustangs. SMU, Houston, Memphis and UCF will join the BIG EAST Conference on July 1, 2013. Boise State and San Diego State will become football members in 2013, while Navy becomes a football member in 2015.

• SMU is 40-41-3 all-time in Homecoming games (12-22-2 at Cotton Bowl; 14-13-1 at Ownby Stadium; 7-1- 0 at Texas Stadium; 6-6 at Ford Stadium).

• SMU leads the nation in total takeaways (25), interceptions (16) and pick-sixes (6).

Kevin Pope is the reigning C-USA Special Teams Player of the Week, having recovered two fumbles, including one which he returned for a touchdown, in SMU's 72-42 win over Houston last Thursday.

Zach Line puts the "run" in SMU's Run & Shoot. Line has posted four 100-yard games in 2012, and his 19 career 100-yard games rank second in SMU history to only Eric Dickerson and third among active players. He has totaled 3,624 yards and 39 rushing TDs in his career, both of which rank in the top four among active players.


 

 

• SMU is 19-8 in Conference USA games since the start of the 2009 season (6-2, 6-2, 5-3, 2-1) and 12-1 in league games played at Ford Stadium.

• Located in the nation's fifth-largest media market, SMU boasts an impressive resume with 143 Conference Championships, 147 NCAA top-10 finishes, eight NCAA team championships (three in football), over 100 individual NCAA championships, hundreds of All-Americans and one Heisman Trophy Winner. SMU is one of just 20 schools that has both a Heisman Trophy winner and multiple national championships.

• SMU is in the midst of its Centennial Celebration, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the University's founding and opening. January 1, 2011, was designated as the start of the celebration period, running through 2015. SMU was founded in 1911 and opened in 1915.

 

About The Tigers

• Memphis enters the game at 1-5, with its lone win coming over Rice.

 

The Series

• SMU is just 1-3 all-time against Memphis, having dropped games in 1976, 2007 and 2008 to the Tigers before winning at Memphis, 42-0, in 2011.

 

The Coaches

June Jones is in his fifth season at the SMU helm. His SMU record is 27-32 and his career mark is now 103-73. Jones led SMU to back-to-back Conference USA Western Division Championships in 2009 and 2010, and has led the Mustangs to three straight bowl berths. Jones went 76-41 in nine seasons at Hawaii, leading the Warriors to the All-State Sugar Bowl following the 2007 season. Prior to heading to Hawaii, Jones had a 12-year coaching career in the NFL, including head coaching stops at Atlanta and San Diego.

• Justin Fuente is in his first season at the helm of the Tigers' program, where he is 1-5. Fuente is familiar with the Metroplex, however, having spent five seasons (2007-11) on the TCU coaching staff.

 

Last Time Vs. The Tigers

MEMPHIS - J.J. McDermott threw for three touchdowns and 357 yards to lead SMU in a 42-0 rout of Memphis on Sept. 24, 2011.

The Mustangs dominated from the outset, as J.R. Richardson returned the opening kickoff 33 yards before the offense drove the final 63 on seven plays. Zach Line finished it off with his first of three consecutive 1-yard TD runs.

Line finished with 136 yards on 20 carries to set up McDermott's passing game. McDermott went to the air 44 times, completing 28 passes. Darius Johnson caught 10 of those for 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Der'rikk Thompson had six catches for 104 yards and a 44-yard touchdown.

 

The Bruise Brothers

SMU defenders Ja'Gared Davis and Taylor Reed have been impact players since arriving on the Hilltop.

Reed, who entered 2012 on the Lombardi Award Watch List, was All-C-USA in 2011 and on the All-C-USA Freshman Team in 2009. He led SMU with 101 tackles last season, including 9.5 tackles for loss and four sacks. It marked the second straight season he led SMU in stops. Reed now has 345 career tackles, ranking fourth among all active FBS players and his 219 solo tackles is second among active players. Reed had two picks in SMU's 72-42 win over Houston, returning one for his first career TD.

Davis, who is on the Butkus Award Watch List, is a two-time All-Conference USA selection. He started all 13 games in 2011, notching 83 tackles, including a team-high 12 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks. He earned National Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording eight tackles, 2.5 for loss including 1.5 sacks, an interception, three pass breakups, and a forced fumble and recovery for a touchdown against UTEP and later led the team with nine stops in the BBVA Compass Bowl win. In 2012, Davis was huge in SMU's 52-0 win over SFA, notching nine tackles, a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss and a 34-yard fumble return for a touchdown. At UTEP, Davis returned an interception for a TD, marking his fifth career score (three fumble returns, a blocked FGA return and an interception return). With 17.5 career sacks, Davis ranks 14th among all active players, and his 34 TFL rank 16th among active players.

Both were named preseason All-C-USA in 2012 and were tabbed to Dave Campbell's All-Texas Team.

 

The Graduate

SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert took 27 credit hours last spring so he could graduate from Texas and be immediately eligible at SMU.

The Gatorade National Player of the Year enrolled at Texas in 2009 and was thrust into the BCS Championship Game against No. 1 Alabama, replacing injured Colt McCoy after five plays. Gilbert threw touchdown passes of 44 and 28 yards to position the Longhorns for a comeback victory. Gilbert then started every game in 2010, passing for 2,744 yards and 10 touchdowns. Two games into the 2011 season, Gilbert suffered a season-ending shoulder injury (torn labrum) and was granted a medical redshirt. He then decided to transfer to the Hilltop.

Gilbert threw two TD passes and passed for 286 yards against Baylor, the second-highest total of his career (344 vs. Iowa State in 2010), and has passed for at least one TD in every game this season. He set a new career-high with four TD throws in SMU's 72-42 win over Houston.

 

Run (Not Walk) The Line

Zach Line was named first team All-C-USA in both 2010 and 2011, and led the league in rushing both years. Last season, Line suffered a foot injury and missed the last three games of the season but still ranked seventh in the nation in rushing at 122.4 yards per game. He posted eight 100-yard rushing games in 10 games played and led C-USA with 17 rushing touchdowns.

In 2012, Line has posted 135 yards at Baylor, 104 yards against Texas A&M, 177 yards at Tulane and 113 yards versus Houston. His 19 career 100-yard games rank second in SMU history to only Eric Dickerson and third among active players.

Line has 3,624 yards for his career (4th at SMU/4th among active players). He set a new school record by rushing for five TDs in the win over Northwestern State in 2011, and his 39 career rushing TDs are third all-time at SMU and tied for fourth among active players.

As a high school senior, Line held no FBS offers. That's when Bill Keenist, the Detroit Lions' Senior VP of Communications, decided to help. Keenist's son had played with Line at Oxford High School, and Keenist sent a DVD of Line's exploits to June Jones, a former coach for the Lions. Jones saw what he thought was a linebacker and recruited Line to SMU, but once Jones and the staff started slotting guys into positions, they moved Line to running back and it's safe to say he's there to stay.

With two 1,000-yard seasons, Line is just the fifth player at SMU with multiple 1,000-yard seasons (Reggie Dupard (3), Eric Dickerson (2), Keylon Kincade (2), Alvin Maxson (2)).

Line is joined on the Mustang squad this season by his younger brother, freshman Prescott Line. The PARADE All-American was named "Mr. Football" in Michigan in 2011 and was a two-time state champion wrestler, but figures to back up his older brother in 2012.

 

My Three `Sons

SMU's wide receiving corps is blessed with a trio of standouts in Darius Johnson, Jeremy Johnson and Der'rikk Thompson.

Darius has been named MVP in back-to-back bowl games; Jeremy caught the game-winning TD in overtime at TCU in 2011 and Der'rikk is a deep threat with three of his five career TDs coming from 40-yards or more out.

Darius is a preseason first-team All-C-USA performer and Biletnikoff Award Watch List member in 2012 after wrapping up 2011 with an MVP performance in SMU's BBVA Compass Bowl win. He has 11 100-yard games in his career, third-best at SMU, and ranks in the top five on the Hilltop in career TDs, catches and yards. With 201 career catches, he's fifth among active players and his 2,412 yards are 11th-best.

Jeremy, a prep quarterback, played in 10 games in 2011 and caught 16 balls for 146 yards and a score. He opened 2012 with a TD grab at Baylor and leads the team with 46 grabs for 465 yards on the year.

Thompson, the cousin of former Mustang great Keylon Kincade, is a speedster who caught a 72-yard bomb against UCF in 2011 and started 2012 by catching a 40-yard TD pass at Baylor.

 

Big D In The Big D

Stout defense has been played by Dallas' Team in 2012, as the SMU defense has posted two shutouts in 2012, the first time that has happened at SMU since 1983. SMU leads the nation in total takeaways (25), interceptions (16) and pick-sixes (6).

Against No. 15 TCU, SMU held the Horned Frogs to just 156 yards of total offense. It was the fewest yards for a TCU team since 1997, as the Mustangs limited the Frogs to just 2.1 yards per play.

SMU then posted a 17-0 win at UTEP, shutting out a Mike Price-coached team for just the second time in his 31-year career. It was the first shutout of UTEP in El Paso since 1996.

 

Second Secondary

SMU lost its second preseason starter in the secondary when three-year starting safety Ryan Smith went down with a season-ending injury against TCU. Sophomore J.R. Richardson, slotted as a starter at corner in the preseason, got injured in training camp and is out for the year, leaving the Mustangs a bit thin in the secondary.

 

Great Tailgate

The editors at Southern Living posted a roster of the top 20 Southern schools with the greatest pregame celebrations in their September issue and SMU's Boulevard made the list.

Tailgating is a time-honored tradition at SMU. From the food and drink to the style and traditions, nobody does tailgating quite like the Mustangs. Gameday at SMU is The Boulevard. SMU's beautiful Bishop Boulevard is tailgate central for fun and entertainment.

Along The Boulevard fans can mingle with family, friends and neighbors. They can bring a picnic, fire up a grill for a barbeque or visit the many food vendors stationed along the way.

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For a complete schedule of Homecoming events, click here.

For complete SMU Game Notes, click here.

For complete Gameday info, click here.