Five Quick Hits from SMU's win over UTEP

Ja'Gared Davis' forced turnovers in the second half propelled the Mustangs' to a 28-17 victory...J.J. McDermott solid in first career start at SMU...all that and more inside!

1. In the first half, SMU's defense looked like it did against Texas A&M last week. In other words, lazy, not physical, lackadaisical. But that changed in the second half real quick.

"We challenged them at halftime," coach June Jones said. "They stepped up and had six sacks and Ja'Gared [Davis] had a huge play at the end of the game that did it. A lot of times you play bad and you lose and we're getting to be a better team where we can play not so good and win. We just need to tighten some things and get better."

2. Davis was an animal on defense in the second half. He was the cause of both of UTEP's turnovers—an interception in the third quarter that he returned 10 yards, three of which he hopped on one leg to get while a UTEP player clinged to his other.

His other big play was essentially the game-winning touchdown. He rushed UTEP quarterback Jay Hall, knocked the ball loose and recovered the fumble in the end zone. It was his third-career touchdown at SMU (first this season).

"He makes a lot of big plays and I'm glad to see him do it because he didn't get involved in big plays last week," Jones said. "We need him to be that kind of player. He's a really good football player and a great kid. I'm hoping this is just the start of more to come.

3. J.J. McDermott went 18 of 31 for 244 yards in his first career start at SMU. Not too shabby. He looked comfortable and relaxed, which put the rest of the offense at ease.

However, Jones mentioned that although he had some big throws, there were a few times where he could have connected with the receivers on bigger plays, but the stadium lights were too bright.

"When I came to this stadium, I said the lights were put in place wrong for a passing team and our receivers tonight couldn't see the ball," Jones said. "We should have had two 98- or 99-yard completions and J.J. threw nice balls but we couldn't find the ball.

"It's on the docket to move the lights and to be honest with you, they need to be moved."

4. For a team that runs the run-and-shoot, SMU was pretty balanced on the ground and in the air. The Mustangs threw the ball 31 times and rushed 27 times.

"J.J. has not played a lot and throw the football a lot in what we do," Jones said. "Zach [Line] is kind of doing the load for both Kyle and J.J. Once the quarterback gets a niche of what we're doing, we'll make those plays and then change how we call the game."

5. Unbeknownst to the rest of us, Line was nursing an injury all week—a strained hamstring. Jones said he wasn't even sure if he'd be able to play in tonight's game.

"After that first play I thought he looked pretty good," Jones said.

Line ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns. It was his fifth 100-yard game in six games.

Bonus: Let's talk about Margus Hunt for a second. What an animal! The 6-foot-8, 295-pound defensive end blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt tonight. It was his 13th career block, his third in two games and he is now tied for third all-time in NCAA history.


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