BYU COUGARS

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.

BYU vs. SMU

2022 New Mexico Bowl

Date: December 17, 2022

Kickoff Time: 12:15 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Stadium: University Stadium (Capacity: 39,224)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com 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

BYU/Kansas, Jaxson Robinson, Game Recap...

Mitch Harper

BYU MBB Pulls Off Big 12 Upset Over No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks

The BYU Cougars walked into Allen Fieldhouse and pulled off a massive Big 12 upset over the No. 7 Kansas Jayhawks.

30 minutes ago

spring training sloan park...

Brian Preece

Locals In MLB: Following Nine Former Beehive State Stars In Big League Camps

Spring Training is a chance for young players to catch the eye of a coach or scout in hopes of finding their name on the Opening Day roster.

1 day ago

BYU/Kansas, Game Preview, Hunter Dickinson...

Mitch Harper

Unranked BYU Stares Down Tall Task At No. 7 Kansas

BYU looks to do what no road team in the Big 12 has done this year, win at Allen Fieldhouse.

1 day ago

great osobor usu...

Brian Preece

BYU & Utah State Headed In Opposite Directions As Aggies Vault Into Top 25

A win over then-No.19 San Diego State propelled Utah State back into the AP Top 25 after a brief hiatus while BYU falls to No. 26.

1 day ago

BYU Football, Jake Retzlaff, Starting QB Prediction...

Mitch Harper

Cougar Sports Roundtable: BYU QB Predictions Entering Spring Ball

Three questions centered around BYU sports in the latest edition of the Cougar Sports Roundtable.

2 days ago

BYU Basketball, Kansas Jayhawks, History...

Mitch Harper

BYU Basketball’s History Against Kansas

BYU basketball is about to play its fourth game inside Allen Fieldhouse, but it will only be the second game against Kansas. Looking back at the hardwood history between the two schools.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

ksl-sports-newsletter...

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

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

Follow @kslsports...

The Road Home Mediathon 2023

The KSL Sports Zone and KSLSports.com are proud to support the all-day Mediathon 2023 at the Road Home, an annual tradition to raise money and other essential items for the Road Home, a Homeless Shelter.

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

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.

Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...

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.

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