NCAA Game Summary - Nevada vs. SMU|
(Thursday, December 24th)
Final Score: SMU 45, Nevada 10
Honolulu, HI (Sports Network) - Kyle Padron threw for a school-record 460
yards and SMU coach June Jones made a triumphant return to Aloha Stadium as
the Mustangs blew out Nevada, 45-10, in the Hawaii Bowl.
Jones, who managed to get the Mustangs (8-5) back to a bowl game for the first
time in a quarter century, roamed the sidelines in Honolulu as the head coach
for Hawaii from 1999-2007 before arriving in Dallas.
It was the culmination of an incredible turnaround for Jones and the Mustangs.
The team was the most improved in the country after going 1-11 in 2008. This
marked their first bowl win since topping Notre Dame in 1984 at this same
Padron completed 32-of-41 passes and had a pair of scores. Aldrick Robinson
had nine receptions for 176 yards, while Emmanuel Sanders added seven catches
for 124 yards with a TD.
Shawnbrey McNeal rushed 12 times for 63 yards and three touchdowns for SMU,
which carried a checkered past into the game. In 1985, the football program
was placed on three years' probation for recruiting violations. SMU became the
first and, currently, only school to have its football program given the
NCAA's "death penalty". The football program was shut down for the 1987 season
and the school elected not to play in 1988 before finally returning in 1989.
Until this year, SMU had just one winning season (1997) since the return of
Colin Kaepernick connected on 15-of-29 passes for 177 yards with a TD and an
interception for Nevada (8-5), which had won eight in a row before losing to
Boise State in its regular season finale. This was Nevada's fourth consecutive
It was a shocking result considering Nevada came into the game averaging over
40 points and was a heavy favorite. The Wolf Pack were also averaging better
than 362 yards on the ground, which ranked first in the nation. Nevada
produced three players with at least 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in
college football history in Luke Lippincott, Vai Taua and Colin Kaepernick.
But on Christmas eve, the Wolf Pack were without Taua (academics) and
Lampford Mark gained 90 yards on 15 carries in defeat. Brandon Wimberly had
seven receptions for 80 yards and a score.
SMU needed just three plays to score at the start as McNeal rushed off right
tackle and into the end zone from nine yards out to cap a 79-yard drive.
Padron's 71-yard pass over the middle to Cole Beasley set up the TD.
Nevada elected to try a 4th-and-2 rushing play from the SMU 40, but Mike Ball
was stopped short of the line. Padron then connected with Sanders on a 58-yard
pass. A face mask penalty moved the ball to the one, and on the ensuing play,
McNeal scampered into the end zone.
Matt Szymanski's 22-yard field goal expanded the margin to 17-0 with under
three minutes left in the first quarter.
Padron threw a TD pass to Sanders from 17 yards out with nearly 5 1/2 minutes
left in the half.
A two-yard connection to Beasley with 1:17 remaining moved the cushion to
31-0. Beasley was barely able to keep his left foot down while making the
catch on the right side of the end zone. The drive, which consisted of 10
plays and went 60 yards, was extended thanks to Padron's nine-yard sideline
pass completion to Terrance Wilkerson on a 4th-and-1 play from the Nevada 20.
Later, on third down, a pass interference call moved the ball to the two.
It capped an incredible first half for Padron, who threw for 303 yards in the
opening 30 minutes.
SMU continued to surge in the third quarter, embarking on a 90-yard march,
which was capped by Zach Line's three-yard plunge to the end zone. Padron's
53-yard strike to Robinson helped set up the score.
Ricky Drake booted a 21-yard field goal for Nevada with 3:08 remaining in the
Rock Dennis picked off Kaepernick just over six minutes into the final
quarter. The Mustangs went on their final scoring drive, covering 89 yards,
culminated by McNeal's 17-yard dash to the end zone with 3:27 remaining. SMU
players then dumped a water cooler over the head of Jones in celebration.
Nevada's lone touchdown came with 64 seconds left on Kaepernick's 10-yard
throw to Wimberly.
Padron, who was named SMU's MVP, surpassed the 450-yard total set by Mike
Romo in a game against North Texas in 1989...Defensive lineman Kevin Basped,
who had a pair of sacks, was named Nevada's MVP...The most successful coach in
UH history, Jones coached in the Hawaii Bowl for the fifth time, having posted
a 3-1 mark in the event during his tenure with the Warriors...This was
Nevada's fifth straight bowl appearance and the second time that the Wolf Pack
had been invited to the Hawaii Bowl. In 2005, Nevada beat Central Florida in
this game, 49-48 in overtime...SMU tied its bowl record for points scored. The
Mustangs also had 45 in a one-point loss to BYU in the 1980 Holiday
Bowl...McNeal had seven receptions for 53 yards.
12/25 00:07:57 ET