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Defense leads SMU to rout of Fresno State in Hawaii Bowl

10:50 PM, Dec 24, 2012   |    comments
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Honolulu, HI (Sports Network) - June Jones showed he's still got some of that old island magic left.

The winningest coach in the history of the Hawaii football program had a very successful return to his former home, as Jones' Southern Methodist Mustangs easily handled Fresno State in a 43-10 victory to capture the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

But unlike the Hawaii teams that were fueled by prolific passing offenses during Jones' nine-year tenure that produced seven winning seasons and a BCS bowl appearance from 1999-2007, the Mustangs earned this victory on the strength of their defense.

SMU (7-6) recorded seven sacks and four takeaways, with Taylor Reed and Hayden Greenbauer returning interceptions for touchdowns and standout defensive end Margus Hunt a one-man wrecking crew responsible for two sacks, a pair of forced fumbles and a safety.

The Mustangs also held Bulldogs running back Robbie Rouse, averaging 122.3 rushing yards per game coming in, to a mere 27 on 13 attempts.

Quarterback Garrett Gilbert also helped give Jones a happy homecoming, with the Texas transfer rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries in addition to accumulating 210 yards and a score with two interceptions on 14- of-28 passing.

The end result was remarkably similar to Jones' last visit to Aloha Stadium, when an underdog SMU squad dealt Nevada a 45-10 defeat in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl.

Derek Carr finished with 361 yards and a touchdown while completing 33-of-53 throws for Fresno State (9-4), which entered the contest riding a five-game win streak, but threw both of the aforementioned interceptions and also lost a fumble. Davante Adams was the Bulldogs' offensive star, amassing a career-high 13 catches totaling 144 yards and scoring the team's lone touchdown.

The Sports Network

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