SMU victorious in Hawaii Bowl
Published: Friday, January 18, 2013
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2013 00:01
The 2012-2013 SMU Mustangs capped an under whelming season with a huge underdog win against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Sheraton Hawai’i bowl.
In a season that saw highs: winning bowl eligibility from perennial Conference USA contenders Tulsa, and lows: losing to basement dwellers Tulane and Rice, the Mustangs boarded the plane to play for a chance at a winning season.
The Mustangs, who were led by the ever-reliable defense, which scored 16 points of its own, decimated the Bulldogs in a 43-10 whipping of the Western Athletic Conference team.
Margus Hunt led the defense- making quick work of both Fresno State’s offensive line and quarterback, Derek Carr. Hunt sacked Carr three times, forced two fumbles and a safety.
His performance on the field in the game solidified his ranking as the fifth-best available defensive end in the upcoming NFL draft.
SMU linebacker Taylor Reed and defensive back Hayden Greenbauer returned interceptions for touchdowns. Reed also recovered a fumble.
At halftime the Mustangs were already leading 22-0.
Recent arrival to the program and highly-touted high school recruit Garrett Gilbert had a long touchdown run early in the game, but also threw for two interceptions on the day. While the SMU offense was not stellar, it performed well enough to earn a victory.
The bowl win marks head football coach June Jones’ fourth postseason appearance in a row. It also improves his bowl record with SMU to 3-1. For SMU, the bowl win is another milestone in the return to dominance by a team that was once haunted by the so-called “death penalty”. Imposed by the NCAA, the sanctions eliminated the school’s football program and led to more than twenty years in obscurity as a consistent loser.
SMU football took a step forward in replacing the 2012-2013 rushing phenom Zach Line with a highly touted recruit, Traylon Shead. Having played at both the University of Texas at Austin, and a stint more recently at Navarro Junior College, Shead was rated as the third best available running back in Texas by 247sports.com.
Shead will be looked to fill the void left with the graduation of standout Zach Line, who broke many of Eric Dickerson’s records.
The numbers were not incredible in Line’s last game as a Mustang as he rushed for less than 100 yards. However his overall performance at SMU will be one that Shead will have to mimic if the Mustangs wish to succeed in the Big East.
Line posted 1000+ seasons running the ball in a offensive system that handily favors passing the ball. Shead will also have to duplicate the 11.75 touchdowns that Line provided the Mustangs on a per season basis.
Although Shead has big shoes to fill, the six foot two inch 225 pounder who was a national junior college All-American this past season looks primed to succeed in the Mustang’s offense.
In his season of junior college football, Shead posted almost 1200 yards on the ground for 17 touchdowns.
Additionally, Shead will be a good target in the pass heavy SMU offense that is centered around senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert.
Shead chose Southern Methodist after receiving offers from schools like Big Ten university Purdue, as well as the Arkansas Razorbacks.