The Mustangs went 7-5 in the 2011 regular season, including 5-3 in their final season in Conference USA. SMU is in search of a third straight bowl victory, which would also give head coach June Jones his 100th win at the collegiate level. To do that against Pittsburgh, the Mustangs will have to account for the loss of running back Zach Line, who led the conference with 1,224 rushing yards before suffering a foot injury late in the season.
Without Line, the Mustangs are leaning on Rishad Wimbley, a converted defensive tackle, and Jared Williams in the running game. Wimbley ran for 115 yards in the regular season finale.
Though Pittsburgh's defense is solid enough to handle the Mustangs' run-and-shoot offense, interim head coach Keith Patterson will be looking to keep them off the field, Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
"I think we'll be a little more ball control, I think you will see that on Saturday. We will be a little bit different in our approach," Patterson said. "We're going to try and take time off the clock and not necessarily be methodical in the way we do things, but ball control is going to be a little bit more of who we are; you saw some of that in the Syracuse game."
For more from the Panthers' side, visit Cardiac Hill.