Nov. 6, 2013
SMU Mustangs (3-4, 2-1 American) at Cincinnati Bearcats (6-2, 3-1 American)
Saturday, November 9, 2013 - 11 a.m. CT
Nippert Stadium (35,000) - Cincinnati, Ohio
ESPN Regional/SMU Radio Network
Setting The Scene
• SMU travels to the Queen City for its first meeting with Cincinnati. Both teams enter the ESPN Regional-televised game riding win streaks (SMU 2, Cincinnati 3) and each with only one league loss. The game will pit the nation’s fifth-ranked passing offense (SMU - 380.7 ypg) against the nation’s seventh-ranked pass defense (UC - 177.8 ypg allowed).
• SMU QB Garrett Gilbert leads the nation in total offense (408.3 ypg) - a figure better than 55 teams in the FBS. Gilbert ranks second in the nation in completions per game (35.0) and third in passing yards (393.3 ypg). Over his last three games, Gilbert is averaging 501 yards of total offense and 447.7 passing yards, with 11 TDs and only one interception, and has twice been named American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week. On the year, Gilbert has accounted for 20 of SMU’s 27 TDs.
• Mustang receivers Jeremy Johnson and Darius Joseph are tied for third in catches per game nationally at 9.1 grabs per game. All four starting Mustang receivers have at least one 100-yard game in 2013 - Johnson (5), Keenan Holman (3), Joseph (2) and Der’rikk Thompson (1) - and both Johnson and Holman have 200-yard, 3-TD games on their resumes this season.
• After finishing 2012 with a +9 turnover margin (10th in the nation), SMU has struggled with turnovers in 2013 and is -10 through seven games (120th nationally).
• Over the past 35 games, SMU is 18-1 when scoring first but 0-16 when the opponent scores first.
• Four Mustangs are on award watch lists – Kenneth Acker (Thorpe), Jeremy Johnson (Biletnikoff & Earl Campbell Tyler Rose), Taylor Lasecki (Rimington) and Mike Loftus (Ray Guy) - and kicker Chase Hover has been named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.
• The Mustangs are tackling a tough slate in 2013 as 11 of their 12 opponents are from BCS-AQ conferences. Its lone non-AQ opponent was ranked No. 3 in the FCS polls at game time.
About The Bearcats
• The Bearcats enter Saturday’s game already bowl-eligible, having posted their sixth win of the season last Wednesday at Memphis. Cincinnati is led by a staunch defense, ranking No. 4 nationally in total defense (280.0) . It is a balanced defense, as well, ranking eighth in rushing defense and seventh in passing yards allowed. QB Brendon Kay threw for 321 yards and a touchdown in the win at Memphis, and has been on a tear of late, throwing for 1,131 yards and 10 touchdowns in Cincinnati’s last four games.
• Saturday’s game will be the first meeting between the two schools.
• June Jones is in his sixth season at the SMU helm. His SMU record is 34-38 and his career mark is now 110-79. Jones led SMU to back-to-back Conference USA Western Division Co-Championships in 2009 and 2010, and has led the Mustangs to four straight bowl berths. Jones went 76-41 in nine seasons at Hawaii, leading the Warriors to the Allstate 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.
• Tommy Tuberville is in his first season at Cincinnati. He is a 17-year head coaching veteran, having compiled a 136-79 mark at Texas Tech, Auburn and Ole Miss.
• ESPN Regional will air the game in syndication, with Eamon McAnaney (play by play), Anthony Becht (analyst) and Brooke Weisbrod (sideline reporter) calling the game. In DFW, the game will air on KTXD Channel 47.
• Rich Phillips (PBP), Scott Garner (analyst) and Steve Lansdale (sidelines) will call the action on KTCK 1310 AM/96.7 FM in Dallas beginning at 10:30 a.m. CT.
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