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SMU handles Pittsburgh in BBVA Compass Bowl

Jan 8, 2012 - 12:21 AM Birmingham, AL (Sports Network) - Darius Johnson caught seven passes for 121 yards and a touchdown as Southern Methodist rolled over Pittsburgh, 28-6, in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

J.J. McDermott was 16-for-25 for 240 yards and a touchdown, and Rishaad Wimbley added two rushing touchdowns for the Mustangs (8-5).

"I was really proud of the defense. The defense has been that way all year," SMU coach June Jones said. "It's been the reason we won eight games. We haven't been as sharp on offense as we have been in years past, but we didn't turn the ball over today."

Tino Sunseri threw for 190 yards on 19-of-28 passing for the Panthers (6-7). He threw one interception and was sacked seven times.

Devin Street caught five passes for 67 yards and Mike Shanahan had four catches for 50 yards in defeat.

SMU scored just under five minutes into the game when McDermott found Johnson wide open for a 50 yard touchdown. Johnson, the slot receiver, faked a move to the inside before burning his defender down the right side when McDermott dropped in a perfect pass.

The Mustangs added another touchdown on their next drive when McDermott punched it in from the one yard line. McDermott moved SMU to the Pitt 22 after finding Johnson and Cole Beasley for gains of 18 and 14 yards, respectively. Jared Williams then broke a nine-yard run, followed by three consecutive gains of four yards to put the ball on the Panther's one yard line, setting up the quarterback sneak, putting SMU up 14-0.

On Pitt's second play on the following drive, Sunseri was stripped by Ja'Gared Davis giving SMU the ball on the Pitt 27.

McDermott found Beasley for a 19-yard strike before Wimbley took it to the two. Wimbley then followed a pulling guard into the end zone.

Pitt finally got on the board with 12:30 remaining in the second frame when Kevin Harper blasted a 32-yard field goal through the uprights.

The Panthers had an opportunity to cut their deficit to 15 heading into halftime, but Harper missed a 47-yard field goal as time expired. Sunseri led Pitt 42 yards to the SMU 30, but Harper couldn't connect.

The Mustangs went up 28-3 after orchestrating a nine-play, 73-yard drive on their first possession of the second half. McDermott hooked up with Johnson over the middle to put SMU on the Pitt 39 and later hit Beasley with a 19-yard pass to put the Mustangs on the seven. After a Pitt defender jumped offsides and Williams picked up two yards on the ground, Wimbley busted through the line and into the end zone.

Pitt came back with a field goal on the following drive, but the Mustangs shut out the Panthers the rest of the way. On third-and-goal from the SMU 6, Sunseri dropped back and was immediately sacked by Taylor Reed for an 11-yard loss. Harper then nailed the 34-yard field goal to make it 28-6.

Game Notes

SMU leads Pitt 3-2-1 in the all-time series...The teams last met in the 1983 Cotton Bowl. SMU's famous "Pony Express" backfield lead the Mustangs to a 7-3 win over Dan Marino and the Panthers...Pitt ranked fourth nationally with 3.25 sacks per game, but only managed to get to SMU's quarterback twice.