Homecoming is a tradition that brings SMU students and alumni together to celebrate the fact that we are all Mustangs for life. Like every tradition, there had to be a starting point for Homecoming. In the fall of 1926, SMU decided that with the brand new Ownby Stadium built on campus, the time was right for the school to host a Homecoming Game. On November 25th, 1926, SMU defeated the TCU Horned Frogs 14-13 to win the first ever SMU Homecoming Game in one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
The game showcased the two best teams in the Southwest Conference. Coach Ray Morrison and his high flying "aerial circus" led by Gerald "Little Red Arrow" Mann came into the game 7-0-1. TCU was also undefeated coming into the game with a record of 6-0-2 led by star end Raymond "Rags" Matthews and head coach Matty Bell. Many forget that Matty Bell had successful stints at TCU and Texas A&M before taking over for Ray Morrison at SMU in 1935.
In the spring of 1926, Morrison decided that it would be important to find a left handed quarterback for the upcoming Southwest Conference season. Gerald Mann was the Mustangs starting quarterback, but he was right-handed. Mann went to Coach Morrison and informed him that he would have his left-handed quarterback before the season began. Not eager to give up his spot as the Mustang's field general, Mann reported to fall practice ready to make every throw left-handed.
As the TCU game unfolded, the stars for both teams proved their worth throughout the game as Mann threw a pair of touchdown passes for the Mustangs. Matthews countered by catching eight passes for 110 yards and two touchdown passes for TCU. The difference in the score came in the third quarter when Matthews' second extra point attempt sailed wide. The score stood for the remainder of the game and SMU won 14-13. The game clinched SMU's second Southwest Conference title and second undefeated season in a four year span.
Besides Ownby Stadium, SMU has played annual Homecoming games in three other venues, the Cotton Bowl (36 times), Texas Stadium (8 times) and Gerald J. Ford Stadium since 2000. SMU has also welcomed several entertainment celebrities to campus to serve as Homecoming Grand Marshall, including Bob Hope, Morgan Fairchild, and Cheryl Tiegs. SMU is 37-37-3 in Homecoming games heading into 2005, including a 41-35 overtime thriller over Tulsa in 2004. Being able to win the first Homecoming in school history in such exciting fashion makes it one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.