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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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

SMU prepares for bowl game

Courtesy of SMU Athletics
Senior SMU athlete Monika Korra (center) competes in the Oct. 30, 2009 C-USA cross country championship in The Woodlands, Texas.

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert carries the ball in the 34-6 victory over Southern Miss at home Nov. 10. (Sidney Hollingsworth/The Daily Campus)

After beating Tulsa in the regular season finale to become bowl eligible, SMU accepted an invitation to play in the 2012 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve against the Fresno State Bulldogs of the Mountain West Conference, Sheraton Hawaiii Bowl Executive Director David A. K. Matlin announced.

“The SMU Mustangs finished their season strong by handing C-USA’s West Division champion, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, their first conference loss,” Matlin said.

“Coach [June] Jones and the Mustangs represented themselves well as our 2009 C-USA representative and we are looking forward to welcoming the Mustangs and their fans back to Honolulu for the 11th annual Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.”

The bowl appearance will be SMU’s fourth consecutive bowl appearance, a school record, and its second trip to Hawaii in four years.

Last time the Mustangs played in Hawaii, SMU built a 31-0 halftime lead en route to a 45-10 victory over Nevada.

SMU won four of its last six games to become bowl eligible and beat the West Division champion, Tulsa, to get back to Hawaii. The Hawaii Bowl is extra special to the Mustangs not only because it was the site of the team’s first bowl appearance since 1984, but also because SMU head coach June Jones coached at Hawaii and built that program to where it is today.
“Having been affiliated with this bowl since its inception, I know that it is one of the best bowl experiences in college football. I’m very excited for our players, staff and fans. This is a special experience,” Jones said.

The team will hold just over a week of practices starting Saturday in Dallas before departing on Wednesday, Dec. 19 for Hawaii. The Mustangs will enjoy time on the beach, a luau and other bowl activities while in Hawaii.

“This bowl berth is a tremendous reward for our football team. We’re excited about this opportunity and look forward a tremendous experience and great game in Hawaii,” SMU athletic director Rick Hart said.

SMU does face a tough task in Fresno State. Fresno ranks No. 12 in the country in passing yards per game (322.6) led by Derek Carr, who has thrown for over 3,700 yards and 36 touchdowns on this season.

The Bulldogs also have a formidable rushing attack with senior Robbie Rouse rushing for over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. The Bulldogs average just over 40 points a game on offense, but the Mustangs have limited opponents to just 27 points per game.

The Mustangs will have to put some points on the board against the Bulldogs to have a chance, but luckily the Mustangs have First-Team All-C-USA running back Zach Line leading the way.

The Mustangs had thirteen players selected to be on the All-Conference USA teams including seniors Margus Hunt and Ja’Gared Davis who both earned First-Team nods.

The Mustangs will need big games out of Hunt and Davis to get pressure on the high-flying attack that the Bulldogs will bring to Hawaii.

SMU also had seniors Bryan Collins, Darius Johnson and Taylor Reed named to All-C-USA second team along with junior Kenneth Acker.

Jordan Free, Jeremy Johnson, Torlan Pittman and Mike Loftus all received honorable mention. SMU had two standout freshmen in Taylor Lasecki and Shakiel Randolph, who were named to the C-USA All-Freshman Team. 

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