Gilbert is best known for being the freshman quarterback at Texas who was called on to replace injured starter Colt McCoy in the first quarter of a 37-21 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game on Jan. 7, 2010. Gilbert, a schoolboy legend who passed for 12,534 yards at Austin's Lake Travis High, transferred to SMU before the 2012 season.
A fifth-year senior, Gilbert said he has become comfortable in his second season with coach June Jones' run-and-shoot offense.
"I'm much more comfortable in the offense now as opposed to last season," said Gilbert, who threw 15 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions last season.
The Mustangs run a no-huddle offense. Jeremy Johnson leads the conference in receptions per game (10.3) and receiving yards (735). He has scored four touchdowns. Teammate Darius Joseph has caught 56 passes for 476 yards and three touchdowns.
"He's obviously a tremendous quarterback who played in the national championship game as a freshman," Rhule said. "He can get the ball to all their playmakers. He's an NFL quarterback, and June Jones has been doing it so long that he knows what he can do as well."
Still looking for both their first road win and their first conference win, the Owls have struggled all season on defense. Their pass defense, allowing 284.4 yards per game, is ranked eighth in the 10-team AAC. And at 486.1 yards per game, their overall defense is allowing more than any team in the conference.
However, SMU is the easiest team in the conference to score on, allowing a notch below 41 points per game.
"We have to go out and play a complete game on offense and defense," Rhule said. "We have to take care of what we can do. I think we started doing that last week."