Nov. 16, 2012
Rice will honor 10 players who are completing their careers on Saturday as part of annual Senior Day ceremonies prior to the 2:30 kickoff between the Owls and SMU Mustangs at Rice Stadium.
Jarrett Ben, Taylor Cook, Bobby Janisch, Michael Poynter, Kyle Prater, Vance McDonald, Sam McGuffie, Jamael Thomas, Jared Williams and Luke Willson will all be honored prior to tomorrow's Conference USA showdown. The game will be broadcast nationally by Comcast Sports.
The 10 players include seven seniors as listed on the Owls' current roster, two juniors (Janisch and Poynter) who are electing to graduate this spring and one former player (Ben) who was forced to end his career early because of injuries. The Owls (4-6) will be looking to win their third straight and fourth in the last five while SMU (5-5) will be hoping to reach bowl eligibility with a win.
The last time the two schools met with postseason eligibility for both teams hinging on the outcome was in 2006. That season both teams entered the Senior Day showdown at Rice Stadium with 6-5 records and one C-USA bowl bid up for grabs.
Rice jumped out to a 17-0 lead only to see SMU bounce back to lead 24-17 at halftime. After Rice tied it on the second of Jarett Dillard's three touchdown receptions, SMU appeared headed for a touchdown lead on a long run by DeMyron James. But Brian Raines chased James down at the one after a 64-yard gain and the Rice defense held the Mustangs to a field goal. Dillard's third TD reception from Joel Armstrong gave Rice the lead and a late interception by Bencil Smith sealed the win for Rice.
The game will also mark the immediate end of a series on the 96th anniversary of the first meeting between the two schools. Rice defeated SMU 146-3 on November 17, 1916. The two schools have met every year since 1926 in seasons when both schools fielded a program. In 1998 the mayors of Houston and Dallas announced the creation of The Mayor's Cup, which is awarded to the winner of the game. Rice holds a 7-6 lead in games since the traveling trophy was introduced.