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(Thursday, October 18th)
Final Score: SMU 72, Houston 42
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Garrett Gilbert threw for 265 yards and four touchdowns, SMU created nine turnovers and scored three defensive touchdowns as the Mustangs stampeded the Houston Cougars, 72-42, Thursday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.
Darius Johnson reeled in nine balls for 110 yards and two touchdowns, Jeremy Johnson tallied 94 yards receiving and a TD catch, Zach Line carried 22 times for a game-high 113 yards and two scores, and Keenan Holman caught one pass for a TD for the Mustangs.
Taylor Reed, Darrian Wright and Stephon Sanders each returned interceptions for touchdowns, and Kevin Pope scooped up a Houston fumble on a kickoff that he took back for a score for SMU (3-4, 2-1 C-USA), which was coming off a 27-26 loss last week at Tulane.
Houston starting quarterback David Piland threw for 180 yards on 15-of-25 passing with two interceptions, but was knocked from the game with an injury after taking a hard hit late in the first half.
His backup, Crawford Jones, took over to begin the third quarter, going 17-of-33 for 252 yards and three touchdowns for the Cougars (3-4, 2-1), who had a three-game win streak snapped.
Charles Sims had two touchdowns on the ground and two receiving, and Daniel Spencer reeled in a TD pass on 96 yards receiving. Deontay Greenberry caught six passes for 94 yards and D.J. Hayden had a fourth-quarter interception that he returned for a touchdown in defeat.
On 4th-and-14 during the game's opening drive, SMU's punt-coverage unit gave the Mustangs a boost, recovering a fumble by Houston's Dewayne Peace on the return and giving the Mustangs a new set of downs at the Houston 11. Gilbert capitalized three plays later, linking up with Darius Johnson on an 8-yard TD pass.
The Cougars came right back, however, marching downfield in 11 plays to get on the board. After big gains from Sims on the ground and Greenberry and Larry McDuffey through the air, Houston called upon Sims on 1st-and-goal from the 1 and he punched it into the end zone to tie the game.
Although SMU went back up 14-7 the next series -- putting together an eight- play drive that ended with Line reeling off a 12-yard run for a touchdown -- the Cougars again knotted the game early in the second, with Sims getting another short TD carry that capped a 72-yard scoring drive.
The Mustangs took a 28-14 lead at the half, with Jeremy Johnson catching an 18-yard TD pass from Gilbert, and then Reed picking off a Piland pass that the senior linebacker took back seven yards for a score.
Another Houston turnover on the second-half kickoff cost the Cougars seven more, when Pope recovered Ryan Jackson's fumble and ran it back 20 yards for a TD to make it a 35-14 game just six seconds into the third quarter.
Chase Hover tacked on a 35-yard field goal after the Mustangs got the ball back on an interception, and Wright immediately had a pick-six of his own the next series, returning the ball 10 yards for a score to give SMU a commanding 45-14 lead.
Houston made it a 45-21 game with 9:26 left in the third after Jones found Sims through the air for a 24-yard touchdown, and later made it a 17-point game when Jones hooked up with Spencer for a 7-yard TD pass.
But Gilbert hit Holman for a big 43-yard yard TD throw the next series, re-extending the Mustangs lead to 52-28.
Another interception by Reed set up a touchdown pass to Darius Johnson about a minute later to put SMU up 59-28 after three.
Both teams scored two touchdowns each in the fourth, with Sims catching a TD pass and Hayden getting a pick-six for Houston, and Line running for a touchdown and Sanders returning an interception for a touchdown for SMU.
10/19 01:04:16 ET