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Hawaii Bowl 2012: SMU vs. Fresno State

SMU travels to the islands to play Mountain West member Fresno State on Dec. 24.


The SMU Mustangs are set to play the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24 in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The bowl matches up the fourth-best team from Conference USA with the Mountain West Conference co-champions.

SMU hovered around .500 all season and finished 6-6 after upsetting the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (then 9-2) in its final game to earn bowl eligibility. While running back Zach Line has churned out 1,207 rushing yards, the rest of the Mustangs' offense has been up and down. Quarterback Garrett Gilbert completed 53% of his passes for 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and a run game beyond Line is non-existent for the 93rd-ranked offense in the country.

Head coach June Jones returns to Hawaii, where he coached for nine seasons.

Fresno State enters the game on a five-game winning streak and boasting top units on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Derek Carr has thrown for 3,742 yards, 36 touchdowns, and only five interceptions while completing 68% of his passes. On the ground, Robbie Rouse has added 1,468 yards and 12 touchdowns to make the Bulldogs' offense rank 14th nationally.

Defensively, the Bulldogs are 19th in the country in yards allowed.

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