--QB Kyle Padron was shaky in SMU's 17-7 loss to Central Florida in the Conference USA championship game. Against the league's top defense, he threw two second-half interceptions and missed chances to connect with players downfield and held the ball too long. The sophomore passed for a school-record 450 yards in last season's Hawaii Bowl after having time to prepare.
--LB Taylor Reed had 11 tackles and two sacks against Central Florida, as SMU limited the Knights to well below their scoring average despite losing two key players to injury during the game. The middle linebacker will be a central figure against Army's option.
--RB Zach Line is Conference USA's leading rusher, a bruising back who prevents opponents from focusing solely on SMU's passing game. He averages 107 yards per game and 6.1 yards per carry.
--SMU coach June Jones' Mustangs have struggled the last three seasons against Navy, which runs a similar offense to Army's. But the Mustangs have plenty of time to prepare in this situation, including a chance to get healthy. Jones and Army coach Rich Ellerson know each other well.
SMU is playing in consecutive bowls for the first time since 1983 and 1984. The Mustangs won the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl last season, rolling past Nevada, 45-10. Overall, SMU is 5-6-1 in bowl games.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I think the advantage of playing the Academy outweighs all the things about the offense. To be able to support the country. When I was in Hawaii, the only time we got any newspaper coverage was playing Air Force, Army or Navy. ... They always covered those, so it was important." -- SMU coach June Jones.