In 1923, Coach Ray Morrison had one of the best teams in SMU history. They were the school's first conference championship team. They were a remarkable unit that posted a perfect 9-0 record. The team scored 207 points, while only allowing opponents a grand total of nine points in the entire season. The dominating performance by the 1923 Mustangs places them on our list of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
They were a group of talented young men, with five of the starters being consensus All-SWC picks led by quarterback Logan Stollenwerck. The team leaders showed their dedication before the season began with the formation of "the Committee of the football squad" made up of Stollenwerck, captain Wilton Daniel, Buddy King, and Ladelle Howell. The resolution stated:
We as candidates for the 1923 Varsity and Freshman teams, desiring to create and promote a team spirit which will cause every man to give his best to his school and fellow teammates, do hereby unanimously adopt the following resolutions.
1. That every man upon his honor shall keep himself fit, morally, physically and mentally in order to give his best to his school and teammates.
2. That every man shall not only see that he himself trains, but it is his duty to help his teammates; obligating himself to report any violation of training rules to the captains of the team.
3. That a spirit of encouragement shall always prevail.
4. It shall be our duty to see that all the requests of the coaches shall be carried out.
5. That each man who is fortunate enough to represent our school upon the field of play shall always play the game hard and fair, in order to bring praise and honor to the University which we all love.
6. That every man shall always sacrifice self for the good of the team, abiding in good faith by the superior judgment of the coaches.
The team responded to the resolution, destroying their opponents along the way. The true test of this team came when they traveled to College Station on October 26th to play the heavily favored Aggies. Texas A&M had never lost a game at Kyle Field, but SMU was about to change that. SMU outplayed the Aggies on their home turf, intercepting four passes on the way to a 10-0 victory.
Two weeks later, Arkansas scored the only touchdown of the season against the Mustangs as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead. SMU had never scored against Arkansas in their first three meetings. But behind the passing of Stollenwerck, the Mustangs scored two touchdowns en route to a 13-6 win.
Finally, on November 29th, the Mustangs hosted Baylor, looking to close out a perfect season. Baylor knew they did not stand a chance. SMU kicked off to the Bears, only to have them punt it right back on the very same play with the ball dying at the SMU 4. Stollenwerck went out and threw a 50 yard pass to Blink Bedford that demoralized Baylor. SMU went on to win 16-0, claiming the Southwest Conference championship.
The 1923 team dominated the competition on their way to winning the school's first conference title. The team leaders set out from the beginning to make this team special, and by season's end, there was no doubt that they were. The 1923 championship season takes its place on our list of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.