Honolulu, HI, United States (4E Sports) – Garrett Gilbert tossed for 212 yards and ran for 98 yards on 18 tries while the defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns as Southern Methodist ran roughshod over Fresno State, 43-10, to clinch the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve at Aloha Stadium.
Gilbert completed 14 of 28 passes, throwing a touchdown pass and adding a scoring run to lead the Mustangs to their third bowl championship in four seasons. SMU earlier won the 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl.
It was SMU’s third bowl win in Hawaii as it also captured the Aloha Bowl in 1984 and the Hawaii Bowl in 2009.
Running back Zach Line rushed for 71 yards on 19 carries and a score, putting his total to 4,185 yards and 47 rushing touchdowns, both of which rank in the top six among active players. Line’s career rushing total is second-best in school history, trailing only Eric Dickerson.
Wide receiver Austin Fuller caught four passes for 84 yards while fellow wideout Darius Johnson caught Gilbert’s 21-yard touchdown heave in the second quarter.
Margus Hunt, SMU’s 6-foot-8, 280-pound defensive end, recorded three sacks, two forced fumbles and notched the second-quarter safety in the first half alone.
Derek Carr completed 33 of 54 passes for 362 yards and a touchdown but threw two interceptions in the fourth period that defensive back Hayden Greenbauer and linebacker Taylor Reed returned for an 82- and 63-yard touchdown, respectively.
Fresno State’s rushing was completely shut down by SMU’s defense, producing just -16 after Carr lost a total of 41 yards as the Bulldogs’ winning streak ended at six games.
Davant Adams was the only other bright spot in the Bulldogs’ offense, catching 13 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
The Mustangs finished the season with a 7-6 record while the Bulldogs capped their campaign with a 9-4 mark.