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SMU vs. Rice: Bowl eligibility at stake for Mustangs, Owls

The hopes and dreams of postseason play for both SMU and Rice hinge on this in-state matchup at Rice Stadium.

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-US PRESSWIRE

The SMU Mustangs have the postseason in sight as they visit the Rice Owls on Saturday in Houston, playing to lock up 2012 bowl eligibility.

SMU moved to 5-5 on the season on Nov. 10 with a 34-6 victory over winless Southern Miss. The Mustangs are also 4-2 in Conference USA play, good for second place in the West Division. With a touchdown pass in the win, quarterback Garrett Gilbert evened out his touchdowns and interceptions to 13 each on the season. Even with running back Zach Line having already eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on the season, SMU's offense ranks just 86th nationally at 377 yards per game.

Rice enters the game after winning two straight games. By improving to a 4-6 record, a bowl game now seems in reach, but a loss ends those hopes. Behind running backs Turner Peterson and Charles Ross, in those two wins the Owls averaged 205 rushing yards per game. Offensively, Rice has been fairly solid, gaining an average of 418 yards per game. But its defense allows 456 yards, which ranks 102nd nationally.

Date/Time: Sat., Nov. 17, 2:30 p.m. CT

TV: Comcast Sports South

Odds: SMU is favored by 3.5 points

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.