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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Struggling for a win

Rice Owls (2-7) at SMU Mustangs (0-10)

The Mustang football team (0-10, 0-7 WAC) will play host to theRice Owls (2-7, 2-3 WAC) this weekend in an attempt to capture itsfirst victory of the season. The match-up is one that promises tofeature a wealth of youth, as the two teams have a combined 89freshmen on the rosters.

SMU head coach Phil Bennett knows that this weekend’s gamewill feature obstacles that the Mustangs have not seen thisseason.

“Their playmakers are their quarterbacks,” Bennettsaid, “and that’s a crucial position.

“Both of them are very effective and efficient at runningthe offense. They’re both good runners, athletic and tough.When you have two guys that are pretty competent at that position,it’s a plus for you.”

The Owls’ offense is a potent one, ranking fourth in thenation for rushing offense. Rice has averaged more than threetouchdowns per game this season, and challenged defenders everygame to stop sophomore running back Thomas Lott. The Plano nativehas rushed for 402 yards on 58 carries, accumulating a team-highaverage of nearly seven yards per run for those with more than 30carries.

But the Owls’ offense will attack from a unique angle, asRice runs what is called the “spread option offense” or”wishbone offense.” That is, two different formationsand a pick passing attack are used in order to exploit thedefense’s alignment and personnel. As one of only about fivecollegiate teams in the nation to posses this type of offense, theOwls offensive line will present a difficult challenge to the SMUdefensive line.

Rice knows that, even with its powerful offense, theMustangs’ defensive line will pose a threat to hopes for awinning record against WAC teams.

“They’re scary, because with a freshman quarterbackthat they’ve only played for three weeks, they are trying tofind the right personality that fits him,” Rice head coachKen Hatfield said. “They could come at us with a completelydifferent game plan from what we’ve seen on film.”

Running back Keylon Kincade is also on the minds of theOwls’ coaches, as he will carry on with his march towardbecoming only the sixth Mustang in school history to reach theelusive 3,000-career rushing yard mark. With 2,895 career yards,Kincade is only 105 yards short of the historic achievement. Thisseason, he has rushed for 1,114 yards on 278 carries, includingfour touchdowns.

“They’ve already got Kincade’spersonality,” Hatfield said. “We know they are going torun the ball. It’s all the other things that they are tryingto build around with their quarterback that you just don’tknow.”

Freshman quarterback Chris Phillips will once again be at thehelm for the Ponies as he attempts to gain more experience andknowledge of the game at a collegiate level. This season, he hascompleted 12 of 25 pass attempts for a total of 98 yards.

“I think this week is going to be critical forChris,” Bennett said. “I think this is a game that wecan measure where he’s at from where he started.”

The Owls are 0-4 on the road this year, and they could have atough time winning in Dallas, where they have not been able to rackup a victory since 1995, a 34-24 decision over the Ponies.

“It’s going to be a good game. Whether or not wecome out victorious will be up to us. If we execute and do whatwe’ve been coached to do, we’ll be on the righttrack,” linebacker D.D. Johnson said.

Kick-off is at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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