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The SMU football team scored fast and often in the first quarter of the BBVA Compass Bowl, racking up 21 points for a new bowl record. After that, the defense took care of the rest by shutting down the University of Pittsburgh's lifeless offense the entire game. The outcome of the game was never in question and SMU routed Pitt, 28-6, to win their second bowl game in three years.

Senior quarterback J.J. McDermott hit wide receiver Darius Johnson for a 50-yard touchdown to get things started in the first quarter. On their next scoring drive, McDermott kept the ball himself and snuck into the end zone from the 1-yard line to put the Mustangs up by two touchdowns. And then, just before the end of the first quarter, running back Rishaad Wimbley - running in place of All-Conference USA first team running back Zach Line - blew the game wide open by rushing for SMU's third touchdown of the quarter.

The 21 points scored by SMU in the first quarter set a new bowl record for the most points scored in a quarter. McDermott's 50-yard touchdown pass to Johnson also set a new record for the long completion in bowl history.

On the other side of the ball, the SMU defense could do no wrong against the Pitt offense. Quarterback Tino Sunseri was ineffective the entire game, completing 19 of 28 passes for 183 yards and an interception. He also had a crucial fumble that led to one of SMU's touchdowns in the first quarter. But the blame doesn't lie entirely with Sunseri; after all, he spent much of the game being chased by the SMU defense. In total, the Mustangs racked up seven sacks in the game.

In all, the Pitt offense was out of sync all game. The Panthers finished with just 12 first downs, 10 rushing yards and 205 total yards of offense - all three of which are new low marks for the BBVA Compass Bowl.

One of the interesting aspects of the match up was the coaching controversy shared by both schools. SMU head coach June Jones was close to accepting the head coaching position at Arizona State before the offer was retracted at the last moment. The coach that eventually took the Arizona State job was Todd Graham - Pitt's head coach for less than a year.

The SMU football program's turnaround has been miraculous under the guiding hand of Jones, who won his 100th win as a college coach. It will remain to be seen if Pitt's new head coach, Paul Chryst, can do the same with the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of Rob Graham

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