Throwback Thursday: 1973 SMU at Rice

Let's go back in the way back machine to 1973 and SMU taking on Rice before a packed house at Rice Stadium. Dave Smith's Mustangs taking on Al Conover's squad in a battle of SWC private schools. 

Here are some PRIVATE BULLETS!

- The SMU/Rice game was the conference opener for both schools in 1973. 

- SMU came into the game 3-1, with wins over Santa Clara, Oregon State, and Virginia Tech. 

The great Al Conover, ahead of his time with that belt by the way. 

The great Al Conover, ahead of his time with that belt by the way. 

- Rice took a different path, losing three of their first four, all to ranked teams including LSU and Notre Dame. Rice coach Al Conover took no credit for Rice's schedule, which was put together by former Owl coach Jess Neely. "I can't schedule a game til 1984," the gregarious Owl coach told the newspapers. 

- Dave Smith took over for Hayden Fry after Fry left for North Texas. Smith, a former SMU assistant, spent one season as head coach at Oklahoma State before heading back to Dallas. 

- Smith, like most coaches, emphasized toughness. He also instituted an SMU staple of the 70s and early 80s, a pay for play program. Smith was placed on administrative leave and stripped of his title as school athletic director. Two years later he was out as the head coach as well. 

- 1972 was Conover's second season at Rice, he had some interesting motivational tactics, including having players bury "their mistakes" in a real-life coffin. Against Notre Dame, he invited every Catholic Priest in the Gulf Coast to sit on the Owl's bench. 

Dave Smith, with government issued coaching gear. 

Dave Smith, with government issued coaching gear. 

- Before the Owls played Montana at home in 1973, Conover admitted that his team was in a "no-win situation" because "Nobody will come see it, I wouldn't come see it if I weren't coaching in it. If we beat them by one, you look bad, if you beat him by 50 you're a monster, and if you lose you're dead."

- Conover had one advantage, freshman Tommy Kramer arrived from San Antonio, giving Rice its best quarterback option since King Hill. Kramer made All American in 1976. 

- SMU threw out a freshman quarterback as well after starter Keith Bobo went down with an injury. The Mustangs turned to Ricky Wesson, the pride of Oak Cliff, was a champion sprinter at SOC before coming to SMU. Wesson directed SMU's second-ranked rushing attack to 440 yards against the Owls. 

- In SMU's win, the Mustangs attempted two passes. On the other side, Rice was airing it out with Kramer at QB. Kramer finished the game 10-21 for 162 yards. 

- SMU ended 1973 6-4-1. The Mustangs beat Baylor and rival TCU to end the 73 season. Rice finished 5-6, but the big news was a four-game winning streak that the Owls accumulated at the end of the season. 

- Watch this video and tell me why we don't do highlight videos like this anymore? These are cultural artifacts; this one even has the TCU/Texas A&M game on the back end. That's a bonus, a freebie for you cause we love you that much. 

Thanks to for keeping these games alive. 

Throwback Thursday...