Four Things To Know About BYU’s New Mexico Bowl Opponent: SMU

Dec 4, 2022, 5:51 PM | Updated: 5:52 pm
SMU, Tanner Mordecai, BYU...
SMU QB Tanner Mordecai will play in his final collegiate game against BYU in the 2022 New Mexico Bowl before moving on to the NFL draft. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football will take on the SMU Mustangs in the 2022 New Mexico Bowl. For a pre-Christmas bowl game, this matchup has the makings to be an entertaining one in the Land of Enchantment.

It’s been a long time since BYU and SMU last squared off on the gridiron. To be exact, you have to go back 25 years to the 1997 season when BYU knocked off SMU in overtime at the Cotton Bowl, 19-16.

Like BYU, SMU enters the 2022 New Mexico Bowl with a 7-5 record. However, both programs are looking to close their seasons on a high note and earn an eighth win.

For BYU fans looking to get familiar with SMU, here are four things to know about the SMU Mustangs.

SMU QB Tanner Mordecai will be playing in his last game before pursuing the NFL

Southern Methodist boasts the sixth-best passing offense in the nation this season. The Ponies pass for 324.9 yards per game, with QB Tanner Mordecai leading the way.

A former four-star QB commit to Lincoln Riley and the Oklahoma Sooners, Mordecai passed for 3,306 yards this season. He’s in a similar situation to BYU QB Jaren Hall where he could return to school after the 2022 season due to the free eligibility caused by the COVID year in 2020. But Mordecai has already announced that he plans to move on after this season to pursue an NFL career.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tanner Mordecai (@t_mordecai)

Against TCU in week four, Mordecai passed for 372 yards on the Horned Frogs’ defense.

He’s navigated the season with a broken rib for at least six weeks. Mordecai took a hard hit in the regular season finale against Memphis on November 26.

SMU football coach Rhett Lashlee is entering his first bowl game

After Sonny Dykes left across town to take the TCU job, SMU hired former Miami Offensive Coordinator Rhett Lashlee as their head coach. Lashlee has strong ties to the Gus Malzahn coaching tree from his time as an offensive coordinator at Arkansas State and Auburn.

He was a graduate assistant in 2010 with Auburn when former BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was the offensive line coach with the Tigers.

All ten of Lashlee’s full-time assistant coaches are in their first year at SMU.

High-powered offense with a star wide receiver

A matchup with SMU could be problematic for BYU. The Cougars have struggled this season on the defensive side of the ball. At the same time, SMU’s offense has been a high-powered attack under Lashlee.

SMU football is 12th nationally in total offense (479.8 yards), 13th in scoring offense (38.4 points), and 17th in first downs (302).

One of the top Mustang players is AAC First-Team All-Conference wide receiver selection Rashee Rice. Rice has hauled in 96 receptions for 1,355 yards and ten touchdowns. That’s good for second nationally in receiving yards, and he’s done it with a broken toe.

Rice beat out Emmanuel Sanders’ single-season receiving record for an SMU receiver.

SMU’s defense is near the bottom nationally

While SMU’s offense is putting up numbers, the defense also allows opponents to put up some big numbers. SMU’s defense is 118th in total defense (445.8 yards), 121st in rushing defense (203.2), and 91st in passing yards allowed (242.6).

If BYU QB Jaren Hall is healthy and plays in the bowl as he says he plans to, this could be a high-scoring contest at the New Mexico Bowl.

Keep an eye on SMU edge rusher Nelson Paul. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Paul leads SMU in sacks this season with five.


2022 New Mexico Bowl

Date: December 17, 2022

Kickoff Time: 12:15 p.m.


Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Stadium: University Stadium (Capacity: 39,224)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Mitch will be in Albuquerque for the 2022 New Mexico Bowl between BYU and SMU. Follow his coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) lays the ball up during a NCAA basketball game at the ...
Matt Baiamonte

BYU Basketball Questions Answered In Win Against LMU

Considering the circumstances of the three game losing streak, the win against LMU goes down as the best win of the season for BYU basketball.
2 days ago
BYU Basketball, LMU, Fousseyni Traore...
Mitch Harper

Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 89-61 Win Over LMU

BYU basketball rolls through LMU to return to 5-5 in West Coast Conference play.
2 days ago
Kyle Ireland

Tyler Huntley Helps AFC Take Early Lead Over Fred Warner, NFC At Pro Bowl Games

Former Utah QB Tyler Huntley helped the AFC take an early lead over former BYU LB Fred Warner and the NFC at the Pro Bowl Games.
2 days ago
BYU Football, David Latu, Signing Day...
Mitch Harper

BYU Football Recruit Announces Commitment At Father’s Grave

David Latu had one of the more emotional Signing Day announcements you'll watch.
3 days ago
BYU Football - Royal Virgil Helmet...
Mitch Harper

Former Stanford Commit LJ Martin Signs With BYU Football

BYU picked up a talented running back from Texas on Signing Day.
3 days ago
BYU Football, Big 12 Schedule...
Mitch Harper

Five Takeaways From BYU Football’s Inaugural Big 12 Schedule

The key takeaways from BYU's inaugural Big 12 Conference schedule.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
Four Things To Know About BYU’s New Mexico Bowl Opponent: SMU