Welcome to your online Guide to Gameday, a look at the fun traditions and gameday excitement that accompanies each home football game at SMU!

Here is where you can get tips for painting your face like a pro, learn why Peruna was once in a New York City cab, discover the recipe for the best. guacamole. ever (hint: it’s Laura Bush’s own formula), explore our handy hints for Boulevarding in style, learn all about the infamous SMU Couch and more!

We want to hear about YOUR Boulevard treats and traditions, too. Share them with us on social media using the hashtag #GetHereSMU!

All about Peruna

Five things to know about Peruna

The location of Peruna’s stable is one of SMU’s best-kept secrets. The decision to keep the coordinates under wraps was influenced, no doubt, by a famous “scalping” incident. According to a report published inThe SMU Campus student newspaper on November 11, 1964, a group of Texas A&M University students had wreaked havoc on campus the previous weekend by shaving Peruna’s forelock and tail, stealing a red Mustang statue that topped Ownby Stadium and committing various other acts of vandalism. According to the article, Peruna suffered no permanent damage.


When it comes to picking a Peruna, spirit rules. While the majority have been stallions, Peruna II (1934-1943) and Peruna IV (1947-1949) were mares.
Peruna V (1950-1965) has been called the “rowdiest of the rowdy,” and his lively prancing, rearing and antics on the field were legendary. He also enjoyed the good life during his 15-year reign. While in Chicago for the 1953 game against Notre Dame, he was put up in the posh Stevens Hotel, where he enjoyed elevator privileges.
When in New York for the football game against Fordham University, Peruna I (1932-1934) road to the field in a city cab. Peruna III (1943-1947) was the first to be transported to games in his own special SMU trailer, a tradition that continues today. Peruna VIII (1997-2011) was one of the most well-traveled horses, marching with the Mustang Band in the parade for George W. Bush’s first presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., in 2001 and spending Christmas Eve in the Aloha State where the Mustangs played in the Hawaii Bowl in 2009.
The ninth Peruna “exchanged reins” with his predecessor during the halftime show at the SMU vs. Central Florida football game at Ford Stadium on October 15, 2011. SMU’s current mascot continues a proud game-day tradition that inspires Mustangs to “pony up!”
Find more Peruna facts here

Watch Peruna IX’s debut

Fan favorite Peruna Mascot revs up Mustang spirit

Equine Peruna’s two-legged doppelgänger is the Pied Piper of The Boulevard.

Clad in the costume of SMU’s favorite pony, Peruna Mascot mingles among the gameday crowd before kickoff, attracting legions of admirers, especially children. There are high-fives and hugs all around as Mustangs of all ages take turns having their pictures snapped with the beloved figure. In Ford Stadium, the football team’s high-spirited super fan leads cheers from the stands. Be sure to share your favorite photos of Peruna Mascot with the hashtag #GetHereSMU. Pony up!


‘Painting  up’ with Mustang11

Get your game face on

Members of Mustang11 have SMU pride written all over their faces on gameday. Using temporary tattoos, plenty of paint and heaps of imagination, they show off their true colors on The Boulevard and at Ford Stadium during football home games.

Ponies and polka dots, stars and stripes, letters and numbers – almost anything fun and fanciful goes when it comes to “painting up” for the game, according to McNair Scholar Adrieanna (Adrie) Reyes ’18, an SMU junior psychology major who is president and one of two directors of Mustang11.

“We encourage our members to be as creative as possible,” she says. “We sometimes pick themes, but we also follow campus traditions like the white-out for the first home game. A few members will also make or buy costumes, which is always fun to see.”

These true-blue super fans support their favorite team in other ways as well. Mustang11 has worked closely with SMU Athletics to become more involved in the gameday experience.

“We now hold a flag ceremony with the football team, where they pass on the ‘Lock Arms’ flag to us when they arrive on The Boulevard before heading to Ford Stadium. We bring the flag with us to the stadium and hang it alongside the other flags,” Adrie explains. “Our members also take part in the parade with the band and cheer on the field before the game starts, then run with the football team out of the tunnel and into the student section, where we stand in the front row for the entire game.”

Mustang11 isn’t new to campus – it was a committee of the Nineteen11 student spirit group that was active during the University’s centennial years – but is now celebrating its inaugural year as a fully chartered student organization. The group brings new SMU students together to foster Mustang spirit and hone leadership skills they will apply to other endeavors across campus.

“Students have to apply and go through an interview process, which includes group activities and one-on-one interviews,” she says. “We pick students who we believe will be leaders on campus and help them grow their potential.”

Members gather at the Mustang11 tent on The Boulevard to get their game faces on well before kickoff, and other first-year and transfer students are invited to stop by and hang out.

Beyond the face paint and merriment, the group’s Mustang spirit serves a more serious mission by providing a support system for the football team, Adrie says.

“We aren’t just cheering on a team. These are our friends, classmates and fellow Mustangs,” she explains. “We’re there to show them that we care about the work they put in on and off the field. Being spirited means you’ll be there until the end of the game, no matter the score, the rivalry or even the insane Texas weather.”

Five tips for painting your face like a pro

  • You can’t go wrong with a red, white and blue color scheme.
  • Choose skin-safe paints, which are widely available at local craft stores and costume shops as well as online. Avoid oil-based paints; they’re difficult to remove and can clog pores.
  • Tools of the trade include brushes in various sizes for more precise painting, while sponges can be used for quick and less precise coverage. Keep plenty of moist wipes handy to tidy up or remove mistakes.
  • Apply paint in thin layers to a clean, dry face. Don’t touch the wet paint; it smudges easily.
  • Temporary tattoos are great time-savers. Buy them at the SMU Barnes & Noble bookstore and from various online retailers. They can be used alone or glammed up as part of your painted motif.

Easy, festive recipes for Boulevarding

Curry-Almond Cheese Ball

Laura Bush’s Guacamole

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Strawberry Iced Tea Coolers

When planning a Boulevard bash, inspired party fare with pony flair is right at your fingertips thanks to SMU’s newest cookbook, Hilltop Courses: Then and Now – a delicious compendium of more than 400 recipes shared by University foodies.

And it’s all for a good cause: Proceeds from Hilltop Courses help the SMU Woman’s Club Scholarship Fund provide an annual stipend for an SMU sophomore until her graduation.

Nearly 100 contributors to the book include current and retired SMU faculty and staff, as well as parents, friends and alumni. (Worth noting: Readers will find the recipe for Cowboy Cookies from First Lady Laura Welch Bush ’68 on page 213.)

Eight tabbed sections within the three-ring binder offers quick access to chapters ranging from appetizers to desserts – even one on Boulevarding!

In addition to delicious food, the book offers decade-by-decade history vignettes, the SMU seal (old and new), photos of historical landmarks and two indexes – one of recipe names, the other of contributors.

This is the first time the SMU Woman’s Club has published a cookbook, and it’s getting raves.

“We thought it was good but had no idea people would love it so much!” says cookbook committee chair Kathy Barry.

Whether you’re a Boulevard veteran or new to the joys of the pre-game party, enjoy five of our outdoor-entertaining favorites adapted from Hilltop Courses.

The 260-page Hilltop Courses (Morris Press, $20), is available online and at the SMU Bookstore, 3060 Mockingbird Lane.

The 260-page Hilltop Courses (Morris Press, $20), is available at the SMU Bookstore, 3060 Mockingbird Lane.


Boulevarding in style

10 tips for Mustang-themed outdoor party fun

It’s a special SMU rallying cry: “We don’t tailgate, we Boulevard!”

Mustangs are justifiably proud of the festive pre-football game partying that takes places under and around the old oaks on Bishop Boulevard. Here you see a little bit of everything – from “no fuss” tents dominated by the ubiquitous big-screen TVs and barbecue, to custom-designed trailers providing nearly instant park-and-partying (click here for more information on snagging your own spot on the Boulevard). Want to embellish your Boulevarding experience with as much pony style as possible? Denise Gee, author of Southern Appetizers (Chronicle Books, 2016), offers these ideas:

  • Stack cake stands for unique serving bases for small bites — and big focal points for your table.
  • Affix small “Mustang”-themed pennants (printed on heavy-stock paper) to small skewers to “flag” pass-friendly cupcakes or wrapped sandwiches.
  • Fashion sections of chives or green onions atop deviled eggs or dips to resemble football laces.
  • Encourage that “help yourself” mentality by using drink dispensers – which take tabletop décor to even greater heights.
  • Help guests get a handle on their drinks: Offer indelible markers for them to write their names on lengths of red or blue ribbon that can be tied around glass serving-glass stems or cups.
  • Offer a fresh twist on SMU’s red ‘n’ blue color scheme by, say, threading strawberries and blueberries onto small skewers as fruit kabob drink stirrers. They’ll look especially smart with the Strawberry Iced Tea Coolers recipe from SMU’s new cookbook, Hilltop Courses.
  • Win smiles (and let SMU do the cooking!) with such fan faves as Mustang Bread (dreamy with ’cue) or iced “SMU” football-shaped cookies.
  • Top this: Place festive paper cupcake liners atop top small (non-breakable) cups and adhere them raffia. Insert a straw and voila!
  • Vintage aluminum or galvanized tin serving pieces (say, buckets or trays) = inexpensive bling.
  • Cook up any of these pass-friendly recipes from Hilltop Courses!

Lights, camera, couch!

When HPUMC College Ministry and SMU Wesley teamed up in 2014 to create a positive new gameday experience on The Boulevard, they decided to sit on their idea – literally.

The red SMU Couch, set against a backdrop featuring SMU up in lights, has become a favorite Hilltop stop for fans. The couch was chosen because it’s a welcoming symbol representing home and a caring community. Hundreds of Mustangs line up each season, making themselves at home on the couch and capturing the moment to share on social media using the hashtag #SMUCouch.