SMU wins 26-21; heading for 1st bowl since 1984Nov 29, 2009 - 12:53 AM DALLAS(AP) -- A long wait for SMU is officially over.
Shawnbrey McNeal rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 5:23 remaining, to lead SMU to a 26-21 win over Tulane on Saturday.
The Mustangs (7-5, 6-2) were already bowl eligible with six wins. With Saturday's victory, they are guaranteed to earn one of Conference USA's six automatic bowl bids. SMU, which went 1-11 the last two seasons, has not appeared in a bowl game since the 1984 Aloha Bowl.
Three years after that appearance, the NCAA imposed the death penalty on the football program for multiple rules violations. The Mustangs didn't play football for two seasons and have since struggled to regain respectability.
"I didn't see a player laugh or have fun until the second game this year," SMU coach June Jones said of the teams attitude. "It's like they were browbeat worse than any players Ive ever seen."
Jones, in his second season at SMU, was given a two-year contract extension on Friday, keeping him at the school through 2014. Jones came from Hawaii, and the Mustangs may be going to Hawaii for their bowl game next month.
"I told the players I didnt really think it would really soak in yet," Jones said. "I told them they talk about the (early 1980s team) Pony Express; in 10 years theyre going to talk about you."
McNeal, who carried the ball 26 times, scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter to put SMU ahead, and the Mustangs held on.
Tulane (3-9, 1-7) led 21-20 when Andre Anderson scored on a 1-yard run with 10:06 to play. Earlier, Ryan Griffin and Jeremy Williams connected for a pair of touchdown passes for the Green Wave.
After McNeal's touchdown put the Mustangs ahead, Tulane had two chances. On the first drive, the Green Wave was stopped on downs; on the second, as time was running out, Tulane fumbled and SMU recovered.
Kyle Padron completed 20 of 34 passes for 264 yards for SMU, and Emmanuel Sanders finished with six receptions for 144 yards. SMU led 17-7 at halftime.
- NCAAF FINAL
1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
TULANE 7 0 7 7 21
SMU 7 10 3 6 26 FINAL
1ST QUARTER: SMU - TD, SHAWNBREY MCNEAL 2 YD RUN
(MATT SZYMANSKI KICK), 5:56.
TULANE - TD, JEREMY WILLIAMS 5 YD PASS
FROM RYAN GRIFFIN (ROSS
THEVENOT KICK), 12:53. TULANE
Nov 28 5:58 PM
SMU 26 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Nov 28 5:58 PM
SHAWNBREY MCNEAL 4 YD RUN
(TWO-POINT PASS CONVERSION FAILED)
SMU 26 5:23 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Tulane 21, Southern Methodist 26 4th - 5:23Nov 28 5:38 PM
SMU 20 10:06 LEFT, 4TH QTR
Tulane 21, Southern Methodist 20 4th - 10:06Nov 28 5:28 PM
SMU 20 0:00 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Nov 28 5:17 PM
SMU 20 2:55 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Tulane 14, Southern Methodist 20 3rd - 2:55Nov 28 5:10 PM
SMU 17 14:10 LEFT, 3RD QTR
Tulane 14, Southern Methodist 17 3rd - 14:10Nov 28 4:45 PM
SMU 17 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Nov 28 4:21 PM
SMU 17 2:57 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Tulane 7, Southern Methodist 17 2nd - 2:57Nov 28 4:08 PM
SMU 10 12:54 LEFT, 2ND QTR
Tulane 7, Southern Methodist 10 2nd - 12:54Nov 28 3:42 PM
SMU 7 0:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Nov 28 3:36 PM
SMU 7 2:07 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Tulane 7, Southern Methodist 7 1st - 2:07Nov 28 3:31 PM
SMU 7 9:04 LEFT, 1ST QTR
Tulane 0, Southern Methodist 7 1st - 9:04Nov 28 3:20 PM
- Georgia Southern hires Colorado State's Summers as coach Dec 20
- Fritz undaunted by Tulane's decade-plus-long struggle Dec 15
- AP source: Tulane taps Willie Fritz as next football coach Dec 11
- Tulane hires Northern Iowa's Dannen as new athletic director Dec 2
- Tulane fires Johnson after 3 losing seasons in 4 years Nov 28
- Army hosts Tulane hoping to end 2-game skid Nov 13
- Back home, No. 16 Memphis focused on next game vs. Tulane Oct 30
- Tulane-No. 16 Memphis Capsule Oct 29
- No. 16 Memphis shows balance with pair of 100-yard rushers Oct 27
- Navy-Tulane matchup features 2 QBs on the mend Oct 23
- No. 24 Houston surging into match-up at Tulane Oct 15
- Another 400-yard day pushes Ga Southern to top of rush chart Oct 5