WANTED: A SMU kicker

SMU lost its starting kicker Chase Hover last week before the Houston game to mono. The Mustangs backup kickers are 0-3 on field goals and PATs in the last two weeks. In Saturday's game against Rice, the backups missed a field goal and an extra point that almost ended up costing SMU the game.

One of SMU's biggest problems the past two weeks and now heading into the post-season is its kicking game.

The Mustangs lost starter Chase Hover (illness) for the season last week before the Houston game. Hover, who turned out to be a crucial walk-on at the start of the season, was 8 of 10 on field goals and 34 of 36 on PATs before he got sick.

Saturday, backup Brad Namdar missed a 23-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter after Richard Crawford gave the offense prime field position from returning an interception to Rice's 11-yard-line.

The kick would have given the Mustangs a 17-7 edge.

Other backup kicker Mike Loftus missed an extra point attempt after Rishaad Wimbley's 39-yard touchdown run to make the score 27-17 in the fourth quarter. That miss might have been the difference maker had the Owls moved into field goal range in the final seconds of the game.

"We're struggling," coach June Jones said. "You just root for the kids and hope they learn how to get it done and hope for the team's sake that they do. Hopefully it will get better."

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