Sports: June Jones signs extension; Texas Tech awaits

Emmanuel SandersIt’s nice to feel good about the upcoming SMU football season, isn’t it? In case you didn’t know already, SMU head football coach June Jones signed a two-year contract extension, which will keep him on campus until 2014. Last year, he led SMU to an 8-5 record and a 45-10 whipping of Nevada to claim the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. There’s also a great read on on the death, rebirth, and future of the SMU Football program.

SMU Football around the ‘Net:

  • Former SMU star wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (right, at the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl), now the third-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers, has a bit of refining to do after Sunday’s preseason loss to Denver.
  • Sports Illustrated has posted their bowl predictions for the upcoming season. Maybe there’s a reason the Armed Forces Bowl moved to SMU this year….
  • Future powerhouse or fluky year? The AP Top 25 Preseason Rankings aren’t fully sold on the Mustangs’ recent success, handing them a grand total of 1 vote before the season begins.
  • Sportswriter Chuck Carlton of The Dallas Morning News and thinks the Mustangs have an outside chance at upsetting Texas Tech Sept. 5.

<img alt="Sidney Stewart" src="" align="right" style="padding-left:10px" SMU Volleyball, awards sweep edition: Three players for the volleyball team dominated the Conference USA Players Of The Week awards for the week of Aug. 30, as juniors Dana Powell, Kelli Becerra and Sidney Stewart (right) took the Co-Offensive, Defensive, and Setter Of The Week awards, respectively. This is the first time that SMU has swept the weekly awards in school history.

  • Powell earned the Co-Offensive award after posting a tally of 3.42 kills per set this past weekend. She also tallied two double-doubles and nearly earned a third.
  • Team libero Stewart tallied 5.17 digs per set to earn the Defensive Player award. She won this award twice last year.
  • Becerra won the Setter award after leading the team with 10.92 assists per set. She also notched 38 digs in three matches and was named to the Baylor Classic All-Tournament Team.

Home advantage?: The men’s soccer team is set to open its season Sept. 1 against the Missouri State Bears. While the Mustangs ended up with a middling 6-8-2 record last season, their season opener record is staggering: 28-4-3 in season openers all-time, with a 19-0-2 record for home starts and a 107-33 point differential in those contests. It also doesn’t hurt that the Mustangs’ record against Missouri State is 11-3.

Season tip-off: The men’s basketball team will host their 5th annual Tip-Off Dinner at 6:30 p.m Oct. 14 at the Royal Oaks Country Club. NFL Hall of Famer and Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin is scheduled to be the keynote speaker. Tickets are $100 per person, or $600 to sponsor a table (seven tickets plus a coach or student athlete). SMU went 7-9 in C-USA last season, recording the most wins (7) and best finish (tied for 7th) since the University joined the league for the 2005-06 season.

Hot Links: Mustangs win sold-out season opener

SMU safety Rock DennisJunior running back Shawnbrey McNeal ran for 158 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown to lead SMU to a 31-23 win over Stephen F. Austin in its sold-out season opener Sept. 5. Sophomore quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell scored on 4th-and-1 with 7:47 left in the game to help the Mustangs take a 24-23 lead. McNeal scored on a 48-yard run to help the Mustangs win their first season opener since they defeated Kansas in 2000.

In addition, senior safety Rock Dennis (right) was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Week for his 2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery and 8 tackles against SFA. The team plays next at UAB Sept. 12.

The volleyball team won the inaugural Battle for the Iron Spike with a 5-set victory over TCU Sept. 8. Sophomore outside hitter Dana Powell finished with a .328 hitting percentage, recording a Conference USA-leading 6th double-double with 23 kills and 11 digs. Junior outside hitter Kathryn Wilkerson scored her 3rd double-double with 14 kills and 16 digs, while sophomore setter Kelli Becerra earned her 2nd double-double with 46 assists and 12 digs. Read more.

Hot Links: SMU honors ‘Miracle on Mockingbird’ at season opener

White Out at Ford StadiumSMU will honor the 1989 football squad at halftime of the season opener against Stephen F. Austin Sept. 5. The ’89 squad reestablished Mustang football following a two-year hiatus, and the team’s first victory – a last-second 31-30 win over the UConn Huskies – was quickly dubbed the “Miracle on Mockingbird.”

In addition, the 1998-99 women’s basketball team will be honored at halftime. The team was the first in school history to win a conference championship, defeating then-No. 4 Colorado State 65-49 in the title game.

Faculty, staff and other fans attending the game are asked to wear white to show support for the Mustangs. The Athletic Department will distribute white Adidas “All Grit. No Quit.” T-shirts to the first 2,500 students and 500 faculty and staff members who walk through the gates on gameday. Read more.

SMU volleyball player Dana PowellThe volleyball team extended its winning streak to 11 with a victory over North Texas in Moody Coliseum Sept. 2. Sophomore outside hitter Dana Powell (left) finished with her fourth straight double-double, as well as 15 digs and a block. Sophomore setter Kelli Becerra recorded 46 assists, 19 digs (a team high) and three blocks, while junior outside hitter Kathryn Wilkerson recorded her first double-double of the season with 11 kills and 11 digs. Sophomore outside hitter/libero Sidney Stewart added 17 digs, five assists and a team-high three aces.

The Mustangs take on Jacksonville State Sept. 4 at the 2009 Bama Bash, hosted by the University of Alabama. SMU will also face the Crimson Tide and McNeese State in the tournament before returning home to take on TCU in the Battle of the Iron Spike Sept. 8. Read more.