January 8, 2012 in Sports

SMU defeats Pitt to win Compass Bowl

 

TODAY’S BOWL GAME

GoDaddy.com Bowl

Arkansas State vs.

Northern Illinois

Records: ASU (10-2), NIU (10-3)

Stars: 2 (out of 5)

Where: Mobile, Ala.

Time (TV): 6 p.m. (ESPN)

The line: ASU by 1

Looks like a silly game, but offensive-minded conference champions square off. Coach Hugh Freeze, hired as Mississippi’s coach earlier this month, won’t coach Arkansas State in this one. It’s the final game for the Huskies’ productive quarterback, Chandler Harnish, who had accounted for more than 4,200 yards this season.

Best swag: Nikon S80 camera

Kansas City Star

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – SMU has not lost this season when it scores first or puts up at least 21 points.

The Mustangs were quick to check off both benchmarks to give coach June Jones his 100th collegiate win.

SMU put up three first-quarter touchdowns, including scoring runs and passes by J.J. McDermott, to beat Pittsburgh 28-6 Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

“I’m really proud of the defense,” Jones said. “Really the defense has been that way all year. They’ve been the reason we’ve won eight games. We haven’t been as sharp on offense as we’ve been in years past.”

Rishaad Wimbley ran for two scores for SMU (8-5), which tied a school record by playing in its third straight bowl under Jones.

Jones said he didn’t talk to his players about his approaching milestone, but he said his 100th win as a college coach “means a lot to me.”

“I’ll never forget these guys for that win,” he said.

McDermott completed 16 of 26 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown, to Darius Johnson early in the first.

Pittsburgh (6-7) was held without a first down and fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter. Kevin Harper kicked field goals of 32 and 34 yards.

The Panthers were coached by defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, who took over after Todd Graham left to coach at Arizona State. It was Patterson’s last game before he starts his new job as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas State.

“The one thing I kept challenging everybody on the team to do is to finish,” Patterson said, adding there were many distractions for players and coaches.

“But I felt really good about the effort that they gave,” he said. “They represented as well as they possibly could.”

Pitt’s newly hired coach watched the game from the press box level.


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