BBVA Compass Bowl
January 7, 2012 by staff
The Mustangs come into the bowl with a 7-5 record after defeating Rice 27-24 in its season finale. SMU began the year 5-1 with its only loss to nationally ranked Texas A&M, but stumbled down the stretch. Head coach June Jones is in his fourth year with the program and has led the Mustangs to a 23-29 record during his tenure. This is the third consecutive bowl appearance for Jones and the Mustangs.
The Panthers won the 2011 Compass Bowl. Pittsburgh will be led by interim head coach Keith Patterson after Todd Graham resigned in early December to take the Arizona State job. Patterson served as the team’s defensive coordinator as it finished 6-6. Patterson discussed in a press conference what he shared with the team upon learning he would be in charge for the bowl
“I told those young men that I am going to coach and prepare very hard for them and we’re going to win. We’re going to finish what we started!”
The Panthers gained bowl eligibility in their season finale with a 33-20 victory over Syracuse. Despite the .500 record, Pitt finished just one game out of a share of the Big East Title. The Panthers won three of their last five games, the two losses near the end were by a combined total of four points.
This will be the sixth meeting between the Panthers and Mustangs. The series has been dormant since 1983 when SMU defeated Pitt 7-3 in the Cotton Bowl en route to the 1982 NCAA-recognized National Championship. SMU’s Cotton Bowl victory evened the series at 2-2-1. These teams both lost a standout tailback to a season ending injury during the course of the regular season.
With SMU’s star running back Zach Line out with injury, freshman tailbacks Rishaad Wimbley and Jared Williams stepped in and led the Mustangs to victory in their season finale. Wimbley dashed for 115 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries while Williams rushed for 80 and a score one 11 carries. The rookie tandem should be able to provide a serviceable ground attack. J.J. McDermott was 33rd in the nation in total offense as he averaged 256.8 yards per game. The senior quarterback threw for 3,182 yards, 16 touchdowns and 16 interceptions with a completion rate of 59.5 percent. McDermott struggled in the season finale as he completed 16-of-25 attempts for 175 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.
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