'Stangs stave off Marshall

SMU stormed out of the gates to a commanding 24-0 halftime lead and held off a second-half rally attempt by Marshall Saturday afternoon in Dallas. Running back Zach Line battered the Herd's defense, gaining a career-high 202 yards rushing as the Mustangs prevailed, 31-17.

DALLAS - Kyle Padron tossed two touchdowns passes, ran for another, and Zach Line added a scoring run as SMU defeated Marshall Saturday afternoon.

Line did much more than simply rush for six points in the Mustangs' 31-17 victory. The sophomore set a new career-high with an amazing 202 yards on 30 carries. That puts him close to 1,200 yards rushing on the year.

A few weeks ago, Line's 177 yards vs. Tulane marked the most that any Pony has gained since 2003, and the workhorse back set the bar even higher with his output against the Thundering Herd (4-7, 3-4 C-USA).

With the win, SMU (6-5, 5-2) maintained its grip on the first-place position in C-USA West, and the Mustangs also became bowl-eligible.

SMU played a near-perfect first half, racing to a 24-0 lead at the break. WR Bradley Haynes caught an 8-yard TD pass from Padron (17-for-30, 230, 2 TDs, 2 INT) as the Mustangs held a 7-0 advantage after one stanza.

17 more points followed in the second quarter, with Aldrick Robinson hauling in a 41-yard bullet from Padron to put SMU on top, 14-0. A one-yard Padron sneak and a 20-yard field goal by Marcelo Sada completed the scoring in the first half.

Marshall showed its resolve, though, opening the third quarter with 10 consecutive points. Nevertheless, the Herd was unable to come any closer than a two-touchdown deficit, and a primary reason for that was the inspired performance by the SMU defense, which picked off three passes.

Cornerback Richard Crawford intercepted two throws from Marshall QB Brian Anderson and safety Chris Banjo swiped the third. The pick by Banjo put the brakes on a Marshall drive that, if successful, would have brought the Herd to within a TD.

Practically every member of the Mustangs' defense made a meaningful contribution. Taylor Thompson had a crushing sack; linebackers Pete Fleps, Ja'Gared Davis, Youri Yenga, and Taylor Reed were all over the field, as usual.

Cornerback Sterling Moore made a triumphant return from injury, batting away a pass early in the game that halted a Marshall drive. Defensive tackle Marquis Frazier made his presence known in the Herd's backfield.

WR Cole Beasley had a huge game, accounting for almost half of the Mustangs' 17 receptions. Beasley caught 8 passes for 99 yards, with Padron finding him on almost every route imaginable.

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