ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (SMU) – SMU has been selected to play in the 2022 New Mexico Bowl against BYU. The game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 17, at 1:15 p.m. CT/12:15 p.m. MT at University Stadium in Albuquerque and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
SMU finished the 2022 regular season, the first under Head Coach Rhett Lashlee, 7-5 to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season. The streak is the longest since SMU went to four bowls from 2009-12 and made the Mustangs bowl eligible in five of the past six seasons and nine of the past 14. The Mustangs used a three-game win streak with victories over Tulsa, Houston and USF to secure bowl eligibility. This is the 20th bowl bid for the Mustangs and the first to the New Mexico Bowl.
The Cougars (7-5, Independent) enter the game having won three straight, including a win at Pac-12 foe Stanford to end the season. BYU is playing in the New Mexico Bowl for the second time and appearing in a bowl game for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons.
“The opportunity to have SMU to the New Mexico Bowl for the first time is a wonderful one, and I am very excited”, said New Mexico Bowl Executive Director Jeff Siembieda. “The Mustangs bring one of the nation’s most explosive offenses into our game and are on a roll, winning four of their last five games. With a passionate fan base and a fantastic team, we can’t wait to have SMU showcased in the New Mexico Bowl.”
The Mustangs are 0-3 all-time against the Cougars, including a meeting in the 1980 Holiday Bowl. The teams last met in 1997 as members of the Western Athletic Conference with then-No. 23 BYU winning 19-16 in overtime at the Cotton Bowl.
SMU has won at least seven games each season dating back to 2019, making it the longest stretch with at least seven wins since the 2009-12 seasons. It is also the first season the Mustangs have won five conference games since going 6-2 in league play in 2019. The Mustangs have 32 wins, the most for a Power 6 team in Texas over the past four seasons.
Four Mustangs were honored as All-American Athletic Conference selections, including Rashee Rice who earned first-team honors. Elijah Chatman and Justin Osborne were named to the league’s second team, while Jaylon Thomas was an honorable mention selection.
As a team, SMU finished the regular season in the top 15 among FBS rankings for passing offense (5th, 324.9), scoring offense (11th, 38.4), total offense (12th, 279.8), first down offense (12th, 302), red zone offense (13th, .914), blocked kicks (8th, 4) and fewest penalties per game (10th, 4.42).
In SMU single-season rankings, the 2022 season ranks in the top three for scoring average (T3rd, 38.4), scoring (T3rd, 461), passing yards (3rd, 3,899) and passing yards per game (3rd, 324.9).