SMU Mustangs Hold Off Rice Owls 36-31

Written by MAi' Ghen Storm | Photo credit: Oscar Herrera, SFL Staff Photographer

The SMU Mustangs were the hottest team in the AAC heading into their matchup with the Rice Owls on Saturday night. The Mustangs had outscored their first four conference opponents by a combined 83 points, and they were looking to continue their dominance against the Owls. Rice, however, proved to be a tougher test than SMU had faced so far in conference play. 

The Owls led by as many as 10 points in the second half, but the Mustangs rallied to tie the game at 31-31 with just over seven minutes remaining. SMU quarterback Preston Stone then led the Mustangs on a game-winning drive, capped off by a 51-yard field goal by kicker Collin Rogers with 2:49 left in the game. The Mustangs' defense then sealed the victory with an interception by Isaiah Nwokobia with 67 seconds remaining. Stone finished the game with 224 passing yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 81 yards and another score. 

Running back Camar Wheaton added 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns for SMU. Rice quarterback JT Daniels threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also intercepted twice. Running back Dean Connors led the Owls on the ground with 77 yards. With the victory, SMU improved to 5-0 in AAC play and remained atop the conference standings. The Mustangs are now one step closer to their first-ever AAC Championship appearance. Key Play: Nwokobia's interception with 67 seconds remaining sealed the victory for SMU. 

The Owls were driving for the potential game-winning score, but Nwokobia's pick ended the drive and gave the Mustangs the ball back. 

 Impact Players: 
  • Stone: Stone had a strong game for SMU, both passing and rushing. He finished with 224 passing yards, two touchdowns, and 81 rushing yards. 

  • Wheaton: Wheaton had a big game running the ball for SMU, rushing for 80 yards and two touchdowns. 

  • Daniels: Daniels threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns for Rice, but he was also intercepted twice. 

  • Connors: Connors led the Owls on the ground with 77 rushing yards. 

Outlook: SMU is now one step closer to their first-ever AAC Championship appearance. 

The Mustangs are 5-0 in conference play and are the clear favorites to win the league. Rice, on the other hand, is now 4-4 on the season and 2-3 in AAC play. The Owls are still in the mix for a bowl game, but they will need to win out to have a chance.

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