The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU looks to end season with a win

SMU will wrap up the 2002 football campaign Saturday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The Mustangs (2-9, 2-5) will host the struggling Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-10, 1-6) in hopes of ending the season on a two game win streak.

Tulsa has lost three games in a row since defeating UTEP 20-0 on Oct. 26. Tulsa has lost 20 of its last 21 games.

The Golden Hurricane nearly toppled the San Jose State Spartans last weekend, with quarterback Tyler Gooch accounting for 419 yards of total offense and the team scoring 38 points. Unfortunately, San Jose State scored 49, exploiting Tulsa’s defense that ranks ninth in the conference.

“We’re playing a team this week that’s very dangerous,” head coach Phil Bennett said. “They had almost 600 yards of offense against San Jose. They killed themselves with turnovers.”

Bennett can relate to Tulsa’s five turnovers against the Spartans. The Mustangs have given away more games than they have lost. Besides a disappointing effort against Oklahoma State, SMU has played well enough to win or at least compete in each of its games.

The Mustangs beat UTEP last week, Tulsa’s only victim, but gave up 35 points. SMU languished defensively, but the offense and special teams made plays to keep the Ponies in control. The Mustangs will try to put together a complete performance in their last opportunity to do so.

“Hopefully this week we can find the game that we put all three phases of the game together,” Bennett said.

SMU has dominated its matchup with Tulsa, winning every contest since the Golden Hurricane entered the conference in 1996. Their last meeting on November 17, 2001 was a 24-14 SMU victory at Tulsa’s Skelly Stadium.

SMU forced five turnovers and running back Keylon Kincade rushed for a career-high 169 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

Saturday also marks SMU’s Senior Day. Sixteen seniors will graduate; eight of them will start this weekend.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for this group of seniors,” Bennett said. “These last two weeks I want them to leave here with a positive outcome.”

Among the graduating seniors, linebacker Vic Viloria has been the mainstay of SMU football and will be unable to play in the final home game of his college career.

“Vic will not play this week,” Bennett said. “It’s not in his best interest to play and it’s sad.”

Viloria is suffering from a nagging pinched nerve that kept him out of Saturday’s win against UTEP. A preseason candidate for both the Butkus and Lombardi Awards and a consistent All-WAC selection, Viloria is a four-year starter who has always come to play.

“If there’s a guy that epitomizes a football player, it’s Vic Viloria,” Bennett said. “To not get to see him play his last road and last home game is truly heartbreaking.”

Also among the seniors being honored are four-year starter and Senior Bowl invitee cornerback Kevin Garrett and standout wide receiver Cody Cardwell.

In addition to Garrett, Cardwell and Viloria, SMU will also graduate defensive end Khalid Beard, safety Brent Briggs, running back Kris Briggs, offensive lineman Thornton “T.C.” Chandler, defensive lineman Lute Croy, offensive tackle Judson Davis, tight end Billy Ford, wide receiver Johnnie Freeman, tight end John Hampton, cornerback James Orr, defensive end Eric Peterson, linebacker B.J. Williams and linebacker Justin Williams. The seniors have been very supportive of Bennett in his first season on the Hilltop.

“I want to look back when we get this foundation [laid] and we’re doing the things we need to do here in winning, and I want those guys to have a special part of what we’re building here,” Bennett said. “I’ve been close with them. I think that’s part of the fun of coaching.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 2 p.m.

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