SMU Hosts SFA in 2017 season opener

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

Sutton_Courtland
SMU vs. Stephen F. Austin
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Dallas, Texas
ESPN3 – 6:00
Line: Mustangs -17 / 72

SMU hosts Stephen F. Austin for its 2017 season opener at 6 p.m
CT. The Mustangs will be looking to become bowl eligible for the first
time since 2012.
• The game will be a “Salute To Our Heroes” game, serving as a
tribute to all active military members and veterans. The first 5,000
fans to enter Ford Stadium will receive Salute To Our Heroes branded
thunder sticks, and all fans are encouraged to wear white as part of
SMU’s annual whiteout game.
• SMU is offering those displaced by Hurricane Harvey free tickets
and concessions vouchers for Saturday’s game. Those affected by the
storm can contact the SMU Ticket Office at 214-SMU-GAME or use this
online form and request tickets and vouchers good for admission, a hot
dog, chips and a soda.
• Sept. 2 serves as the 17th anniversary of the Mustangs returning
to campus to play at Ford Stadium. SMU defeated Kansas, 31-17, before
a sellout crowd of 32,267.
• Preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and Biletnikoff Preseason
Watch List member Courtland Sutton returns to the Hilltop for his
junior season. The 2016 first-team All-AAC selection had a record
setting season last year setting a sophomore record with 1,246
receiving yards on the season and set an SMU single-game record with
252 receiving yards against USF. Sutton led the team in receptions
(76), receiving touchdowns (10) and receiving yards, and was ranked in
the top 20 nationally in receiving yards per game (103.8-12th),
receiving yards (1,246-19th) and receptions per game (6.3-20th).
• Evan Brown (Rimington, Outland), Justin Lawler (Bednarik,
Nagurski, Wuerffel, Hendricks) and Braeden West (Doak Walker, Paul
Hornung) have also been named to multiple preseason watch lists.
THE SERIES
• SMU and Stephen F. Austin will meet for the third time, with the
Mustangs holding a 2-0 lead. Both victories came at home for the
Mustangs, defeating SFA, 31-23, in 2009 and, 52-0, in 2012.
ABOUT THE LUMBERJACKS
• Stephen F. Austin posted a 5-6 overall record in 2016, going 4-5
in Southland Conference action.
THE COACHES
• Chad Morris is in his third season at the SMU helm. In his first
season on the Hilltop, Morris engineered an offensive turnaround, as
the Mustangs increased their scoring output by 16.7 points per game –
the second-largest increase in the nation in 2015. Year two saw even
more improvement, as SMU won five games and came within one win of
bowl eligibility. SMU produced a 1,000-yard rusher (Braeden West
1,036) and 1,000-yard receiver (Courtland Sutton 1,246) for the first
time since 2011 and had three players with at least 1,000 all-purpose
yards for the first time since 2011 (Sutton, West, James Proche).
Following the campaign, Justin Lawler, Darrion Millines, Horace
Richardson and Sutton were named first-team All-AAC, the most Mustangs
to be named first-team All-Conference since 2011. His career record
stands at 7-17.
• Clint Conque is in his fourth season at the helm and is 17-18
overall. In his first season at SFA, Conque led the Lumberjacks to a
Division I FCS First-Round appearance. Conque’s career record stands
at 122-77 overall.
LAST TIME VS. SFA
Zach Line got SMU off and running with a pair of rushing
touchdowns in the second quarter and then the Mustangs’ defense and
special teams took over, securing a 52-0 victory over Stephen F.
Austin on Sept. 8, 2012.
After the teams battled to a scoreless tie at the end of the
first quarter, Line scored on a 3-yard run and a 1-yard run. He
finished with 60 yards on 19 carries.
Kenneth Acker excelled for SMU (1-1) on defense and special teams.
He returned a blocked field-goal attempt 56 yards for a touchdown on
the final play of the first half, and scored on a 77-yard interception
return early in the fourth quarter.
SMU intercepted seven passes and recovered three fumbles by Stephen F.
Austin (1-1), returning one fumble and two interceptions for
touchdowns.
SMU defensive end Margus Hunt set the NCAA career record with his
9th blocked FG. He now has 15 total blocks (9 FG, 6 PAT), which is
third in NCAA history. The block was on a 23-yard FG attempt at 4:57
of the 1st quarter.
ALL-TIME VS. SFA (2-0)
2009 – at SMU W 31-23
2012 – at SMU W 52-0
NATIONAL NEWCOMERS
SMU was the only team in the country with a passer, rusher and
receiver ranked among the top 10 for freshmen in yards per game.
Ben Hicks, QB 244.2 (3rd)
Ke’Mon Freeman, RB 54.2 (10th)
James Proche, WR 59.1 (7th)
ALL OF A SUTTON
Preseason Heisman Trophy candidate and All-America selection
Courtland Sutton returns for his junior season on the Hilltop. Sutton
was named to the Biletnikof and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Preseason
Watch Lists, and was a first-team All-AAC selection by multiple
outlets.
Sutton earned first-team All-AAC honors in 2016 after a
standout season that included setting SMU’s single-game record for
receiving yards (252), as well as the sophomore record for receiving
yards in a season (1,246). In 12 games, the wide receiver led the team
in receptions (76), receiving yards (1,246) and receiving touchdowns
(10). Sutton finished among the nation’s top-20 in receiving yards per
game, receiving yards and receptions per game. He became just the
ninth Mustang to register 1,000 yards in a season, placing himself
third on SMU’s all-time list, and ranks ninth in school history with
2,135 receiving yards and sixth with 19 receiving touchdowns.
For his efforts, he was a 2016 All-American Athletic Conference
first-team selection.
The Brenham, Texas, native has collected a long list of
preseason awards including All-America recognition from the Associated
Press (2nd Team), USA Today (2nd Team), College Football News (1st
Team), CBS Sports (1st Team) and Sports Illustrated (2nd Team).
He was selected No. 18 on SI College Football’s Freaks List and
No. 28 on its Top 100 Players of 2017 preseason list, and is the No.
11 player on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football 50 Most Import College
Football Players in Texas preseason list. College Football 24/7 lists
him No. 1 on their Top Wide Receivers to Watch in 2017.
He leads AAC returning receivers and ranks in the top 20
nationally in career receiving yards (2,135), yards per catch (16.8)
and career touchdowns (19).

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