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

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Battle in Houston

The Red Zone
 Battle in Houston
Battle in Houston

Battle in Houston

The Mustangs continue WAC play on the road in Houston againstthe Rice Owls who are still winded from the barnburner they hadlast weekend in San Jose. In the highest scoring regulation game inNCAA history the Owls (2-2) lost 70-63 to the Spartans. SMU (1-4)comes off a decent performance at nationally ranked Boise St. asthe Mustangs took an early lead and generally held their own in a38-20 loss. The winner will move to 2-1 in conference and in therace for a top tier league finish.

 

Key Match-Up

Rice’s Triple Option vs. SMU’s RushDefense

Rice’s offense has four options: run left, run right, runmiddle and option pass. SMU remembers the passing part as Ricethrew for the second most yards in Coach Ken Hatfield’s26-year head coaching career, but that is not what the Owls want todo. Rice wants to keep the ball on the ground and every once in awhile take advantage of a defense cheating nine men to the run.Last week, Rice ran for 570 yards on 85 carries which is 6.7 yardsper carry in the losing effort to the Spartans.

On the year the Owls have only thrown for 202 yards between GregHenderson and Joel Armstrong. The duo do have 554 yards on theground which is just a little less then running back combo of EdBailey and Marcus Rucker who have combined for 599 yards. Riceloves the option to the left side behind a line led by LT ScottMayhew and LG Greg Wilson who astounded Coach Hatfield with theirperformance last week. “Those two guys played 111 snaps lastweek,” Hatfield says, “The pros snap it about 54 times,so that was like two games.”

The key to stopping the option will probably center around thespeedy linebacker crew of the Mustangs. The Rice lineman will throwlow cut blocks on the defensive line to allow the option to get outwide. This means the SMU linebackers must flow to the ball and makeplays, something Coach Bennett saw Don Stansbury and Rico Harris dolast weekend. “Don Stansbury has been very pleasing outthere,” Bennett stated, “and Rico stepped up and madesome really good things happen in a very physical game.” Thetwo juniors combined for 14 tackles against the Broncos and theyare joined by freshman Wilton McCray at the starting linebackerspots.

If Stansbury, Harris and McCray can just limit the option attackand force Rice into third and long situations the Mustangs will bein a position to bring the Mayor’c Cup to Dallas.

 

X-Factors

Rice’s Terry Holley

The Senior Rover is a key to Rice’s 4-2-5 alignment as oneplay he may be stuffing the run, the next dropping in passcoverage, and the next coming hard on a blitz. Holly is third onthe team in tackles and first on the team in interceptions with twoon the year. The three year letterman from Oklahoma City is also afixture in the opponent’s backfield as he is second on theOwls in tackles for loss and also has two and a half sacks to hisname.

The Mustangs must account for Holly at all times and it startswith the quarterbacks. In passing situations they must readHolly’s blitz or drop into a zone and on running plays theMustangs must put a block on him or he will blow-up a play. If theMustangs fail to locate Holly he will make the type of momentumchanging plays that the Mustangs have been trying to eliminate.

 

SMU’s Ryan Kennedy

The second leading receiver on the SMU team is the sophomoregiant from Beeville, TX. Kennedy came up with a huge touchdownagainst the Broncos that caught the eye of Coach Bennett.”Ryan got hit by their safety at the five and would not bedeterred from the end zone,” Coach Bennett proudly boasted.The 6-5, 260-pounder had been known for his run-blocking but thisseason has allowed him to show off his soft hands. Kennedy’scaught ten passes and is slowly becoming something of a securityblanket for the quarterbacks.

If Kennedy continues to drag people into the end zone and opensup holes for the running backs the Mustangs will be tough tobeat.

 

Inside the Owls

Downright Wacky

Pardon the Owls for wanting a bye this week, they basicallyplayed two games last weekend. Upon seeing the tape of the Owls70-63 loss to the Spartans an amused Coach Bennett laughed that itwas “the wackiest game I’ve ever seen.” Howcrazy? Lets start with the fact the 133 points is the most ever ina Division I regulation contest, and just one point off the amountscored by Arkansas and Kentucky in seven overtimes for the any gamerecord. Rice found a way to blow an early 27-point lead and a14-point lead with under eight minutes to go. Rice ran for theaforementioned 570 yards while San Jose St.’s Dale Rodgers,who was the third string quarterback when the game started, threwfor 359 yards and five touchdowns on only ten completions.

The wackiness finally ended with the Spartans scoring twotouchdowns in 23 seconds including an interception return for atouchdown by safety Brian Nunez. Coach Hatfield commented that”I was looking at our offense and I was wondering when all ofthem were going to pass out.” Rice hopes to recover with somehome cooking this weekend, the only home game they have in a streakof five of six on the road. If the Rice offense rolls up 500 plusyards on the Mustangs don’t expect them to leave the stadiumwith a loss again.

 

Inside the Mustangs

Turning the Tide

The SMU Mustangs last week did something, despite the loss tothe Broncos, that they haven’t done all season, they won theturnover battle. For the first time all year the Mustangs forcedthe other team to lose the football as Alvin Nnabuife and CharlesAkinyemi both picked off Bronco passes. Nnabuiife’s takeawaystarted the game out with a bang as he returned his interception53-yards for a touchdown to give the Mustangs an early lead. JameyHarper also made two pass breakups including one that he let slipthrew his hands after he made a great play in anticipating thepattern.

Bennett recently has been encouraging his defensive backs to dojust what Harper did and use their instincts and knowledge fromgame film to jump routes. With the SMU linebackers blitzing moreoften opposing receivers have been checking out of the called playto their blitz read pattern. The Mustang coaching staff breaks mostof these plays down as well and the hope is the secondary startsdoing a better job of anticipating the receivers check down.

Although Rice doesn’t throw the ball often the defensivebacks must support the run while still watching the deep pass overthe top. Last season the Owls went deep for three touchdowns aftercatching the Mustangs leaning towards the run. Watch for theMustang secondary to be big run supporters all day Saturday ascorners and safeties are four of the five top tacklers on thesquad.

 

Invading the Nest

The Mustangs, who lead the overall series with the Owls 44-36-1,make the trip down to Houston for a 7 p.m. kick off Saturdaynight.

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