SMU Looks To Gain Bowl Eligibility
Nov. 15, 2012
SMU Mustangs (5-5, 4-2 C-USA) at Rice Owls (4-6, 2-4 C-USA)
Saturday, November 17, 2012 - 2:30 P.M. CT
Rice Stadium (70,000) - Houston, Texas
The Last Meeting
November 26, 2011
CSS/SMU Radio Network/SMUMustangs.com
Setting The Scene
Still in the hunt for the C-USA Western Division Championship and looking to secure bowl eligibility, the SMU Mustangs travel to Houston to take on long-time rival Rice in a Saturday afternoon showdown.
SMU is seeking its fourth-straight bowl berth, which would be a school record.
SMU is tied for the national lead in total takeaways (30) and pick-sixes (6). The Mustangs are tied for third in interceptions (18) and fumble recoveries for TDs (3), and are tied for 11th in total fumble recoveries (12). In addition, SMU's roster boasts 12 players with picks in 2012 - the highest total in the nation.
Zach Line puts the "run" in SMU's Run & Shoot. Line has totaled 3,939 yards and 41 rushing TDs in his career, both of which rank in the top four among active players. His career rushing total is second-best in school history, trailing only Eric Dickerson. He has been a model of consistency, rushing for 80 or more yards in 30 of 34 games since becoming the feature back in 2010, his 20 career 100-yard games rank third among active players. He has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the third time and is just the second Mustang and the fourth player in C-USA history to reach that plateau in at least three seasons.
Since taking over kick return duties, SMU's Der'rikk Thompson has been among the nation's best. While he has just 10 returns, his 30.9-yard average would rank in the nation's top 10 if he met the ranking qualifications.
Since the start of the 2009 season, SMU is 21-9 in C-USA games overall (6-2, 6-2, 5-3, 4-2) and 14-1 in league games played at Ford Stadium.
Over the past two seasons, SMU is 13-0 when scoring first.
To reach their second C-USA Championship Game appearance in three seasons, the Mustangs must win out and also have UCF defeat the Golden Hurricane this week in Tulsa.
About The Owls
The Owls enter the game following an off week and will be hosting SMU on their Senior Day. At 4-6, Rice is still in contention for bowl eligibility, but must win against SMU and at UTEP in the season finale. The Owls' rushing offense ranks second in C-USA and 28th nationally, as they average almost 250 yards per game on the ground.
SMU and Rice are meeting for the 90th time, with the Mustangs holding a 48-40-1 series edge. SMU has won three straight in the series, but its 2010 win at Rice was its first over the Owls in Houston since 1986. SMU's 48 wins over the Owls are its most versus any opponent.
The Mayors' Cup goes to the winner of each year's SMU-Rice football matchup. The award came to being in 1998 when Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and Houston Mayor Lee Brown were in office.
June Jones is in his fifth season at the SMU helm. His SMU record is 29-33 and his career mark is now 105-74. 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.
David Bailiff is in his sixth year at Rice, where he is 27-44. Bailiff previously coached at Texas State for three seasons and is 48-59 overall.
CSS (part of the NBC Sports Group) will air the game live. Dave Raymond (PBP), ND Kalu (analyst)and Leila Rahimi (sideline) will call the game. To check for CSS in your area, click here.
Rich Phillips (PBP), John Hampton (analyst) and Sean Bass (sidelines) will call the action on KTCK 1310 AM in Dallas beginning at 2 p.m. CT.
SMUMustangs.com will stream game video, audio and stats.
For a complete set of SMU Game Notes, click here.