Going Bowling: Mustangs Make History With Win

November 29, 2009 by · 1 Comment 

By Robby Gillespie

The SMU football team clinched its first bowl appearance in 25 years after beating Tulane, 26-21, Saturday at Ford Stadium, a day after Head Coach June Jones extended his contract by two years.

The Mustangs (7-5, 6-2 C-USA) won’t find out to which bowl their headed until after the conference championships are completed next weekend, but many expect the team to earn a bid to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl as Jones has indicated as his desire all season.

In his second year at the helm, Jones, who extended his contract through 2014 on Friday, completed the biggest turnaround in SMU history after finishing 2008, 1-11.

“I told the players I didn’t really think it would really soak in yet,” Jones said. “I told them they talk about the (early 1980s team) Pony Express; in 10 years they’re going to talk about you.”

Saturday’s win over Tulane (3-9, 1-7) also marked the final home game for 12 SMU seniors, which included leading receiver Emmanuel Sanders and three leading defensive starters, Bryan McCann, Rock Dennis, and Chase Kennemer. Center Mitch Enright, who was named a second-team Academic All-American by ESPN The Magazine, also played his last home game Saturday.

With a 75-yard reception in the second quarter Sanders broke Jerry LeVias’ record for most career receiving yards at SMU with 1,215.

Joining Sanders above the 1,000 yard mark is SMU’s leading rusher Shawnbrey McNeal, who ran for 1,125 yards, making this the second tandem in SMU history to each earn over 1,000 yards. McNeal is the first collegiate player to run for more than 1,000 yards under June Jones (at any school).

McNeal’s 4-yard touchdown run with 5:23 left in the game put SMU ahead for good and guaranteed a bowl appearance for the Mustangs.

Freshmen quarterback Kyle Padron threw for 264 yards completing 20 passes on 34 attempts.