DXL Frisco Bowl preview: Louisiana Tech vs SMU


1. SMU will face Louisiana Tech in the inaugural Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 with a new coach. Sonny Dykes, whose first head coaching job was at Louisiana Tech in 2010, will coach the Mustangs at the bowl game formerly known as the Miami Beach Bowl before being moved to Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, in the offseason. Chad Morris, who led SMU to its first bowl game since 2012, was hired at Arkansas on Dec. 6 after building a 14-22 record in three seasons with the Mustangs.

2. The Bulldogs won their final two games to become bowl eligible and earn their fourth straight postseason bid under coach Skip Holtz. Louisiana Tech is one of nine programs in the country that enters the postseason with three straight bowl wins. The Bulldogs are playing their third bowl in the past four years in North Texas after winning the Heat of Dallas Bowl in 2014 and the Armed Forces Bowl in Forth Worth last year.

3. SMU and Oklahoma State are the only FBS teams with a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers, so it should come as no surprise that the Mustangs averaged 40.2 points per game. Sophomore quarterback Ben Hicks threw for 3,442 yards and 32 touchdowns while Trey Quinn and Courtland Sutton each caught 12 touchdowns. It will be a big test for a Bulldogs defense that ranked near the middle of Conference USA in opponents’ points (26.7) and passing yards (215.1).

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ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH (6-6, 4-4 Conference USA): Sophomore quarterback J’Mar Smith threw for 2,758 yards and 13 touchdowns, including five scores to Conference USA co-newcomer of the year Teddy Veal (69 catches, 832 yards). Junior defensive end Jaylon Ferguson (26.5 career sacks) had a team-high six sacks while senior safety Secdrick Cooper had 63 stops and two interceptions. Freshman cornerback Amik Robertson led the team with four interceptions to go with 58 tackles and two sacks.

ABOUT SMU (7-5, 4-4 American Athletic): Quinn (106 catches, 1,191 yards) leads the country with 8.8 receptions per game, needs six catches to tie the single-season school record and is tied with Sutton (62 catches, 1,017 yards) for second place in single-season touchdown catches. Senior defensive end Justin Lawler joined Quinn and Sutton as first-team All-AAC picks after blocking three kicks and leading the Mustangs with 9.5 sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss. The Mustangs’ defense allowed at least 31 points in its final five games, which included three straight losses before a last-second goal-line stand in the finale snapped the skid.

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