Mon, Jan 09, 2012 - Page 19 News List

Southern Methodist defeat Pittsburgh in Compass Bowl

AP, BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA

Southern Methodist University (SMU) put up three first-quarter touchdowns, including scoring runs and passes by J.J. McDermott, to beat Pittsburgh 28-6 on Saturday in college football’s BBVA Compass Bowl.

Rishaad Wimbley ran for two scores for SMU (8-5), who tied a school record by playing in their third-straight bowl under coach June Jones. Before Jones’ arrival in 2008, the Mustangs had not played in the postseason since 1984.

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.”

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

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.”

Quarterback McDermott completed 16 of 26 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown — a 50-yarder to Darius Johnson early in the first.

Johnson had seven catches for 120 yards and was named the game’s MVP. The 50 yard catch was the longest in the six-year history of the bowl.

“We talked about it on the sideline and we knew it was going to be open, Johnson said. “I just had to make the catch.”

After McDermott’s 1 yard run capped an eight-play drive to push the lead to 14-0, the Mustangs extended their lead further when Ja’Gared Davis hit Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Taylor Reed at the Panthers’ 27.

McDermott’s 19 yard pass to Cole Beasley set up Wimbley’s 2 yard touchdown run for 21-0.

Wimbley added a 1 yard touchdown run in the third quarter, while Pittsburgh were never able to find the endzone.

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