News and Notes from SMU vs. Rice game

The 2008 football season got underway for SMU Friday night as they traveled to Rice for the conference opener for both teams. Go inside our news and notes for several interesting items, including players making their first start for the Mustangs.

HOUSTON – Here are other news and notes for SMU surrounding its 56-27 loss at Rice:

The loss was SMU's eighth straight in season-openers. The Mustangs haven't won an opener since beating Kansas 31-17 in 2000.

Rice has won the last three games in the series, and extended its win streak to 10 straight over SMU at Rice Stadium.

Five freshmen started for SMU: Chris Banjo (defensive back), Kelvin Beachum (left tackle), Cole Beasley (wide receiver), Bo Levi Mitchell (quarterback), and Bryce Tennison (right guard). In all, 20 players made their SMU debut.

SMU's captains were Patrick Handy, Bryan McCann, Andrew McKinney, Tommy Poynter, and Emmanuel Sanders.

Mitch Enright, a preseason Rimington Award candidate, played in his 18th career game and started his 13th straight game.

Jessie Henderson had 160 kickoff return yards, the second-highest total of his career after a 179-yard effort at Tulane in 2005. Henderson now has 2,049 career kickoff return yards, just over 100 yards shy of Jonas Rutledge's SMU career record.

Thomas Morstead missed a point-after kick in the first quarter, breaking his streak of 78 consecutive makes. The last time Morstead missed a PAT was his first career attempt at North Texas in 2006. His three PAT's give him 158 for his career, moving him into a tie with Craig James for 14th on SMU's all-time list.

Aldrick Robinson scored his first career touchdown in his first career start. Robinson finished with seven receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Emmanuel Sanders' 121 receiving yards marked his fifth career 100-yard game. He now has 19 receiving touchdowns, which ranks third on SMU's career list.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Logan Turner threw his first touchdown pass at SMU.

For those charting the first "firsts" of the June Jones era, here's a few: First play – Mitchell throws deep down the middle for Robinson, incomplete First completion – Mitchell hits Sanders on a swing pass in the left flat for six yards First touchdown – Mitchell his Robinson on a crossing pattern at Rice's 15-yard line, and Robinson tap-dances down the right sideline for a score.

SMU's coaches are still sporting an Aloha look, somewhat. There aren't any Aloha prints, but the coaches are wearing the stylish button-down shirts that are meant to be untucked that are classics in the islands. It's the style, not the print, apparently. Receivers coach Jeff Reinbold also wore a orange floral lei around his neck, a special gift from one of the player's mothers.

Rice's band – the MOB, or Marching Owl Band – is a collection of some of the funniest misfits in all of college sports. They did their own special tribute to the Olympics during their halftime show. Among their gags: Announcing eight-time gold medal-winner Michael Phelps as John McCain's running mate. Earning the U.S. Another gold medal in "Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Javelin Throwing." And a special tweak to the host Chinese gymnastics team -- "Officer, I swear she said she was 16."

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