"This is ours!" he shouted to the mass of fans lingering about after SMU knocked off No. 20 TCU 40-33 in overtime Saturday. It was the first time the Mustangs had beaten the Frogs since 2005.
"What a win," said quarterback J.J. McDermott, letting out a sigh of relief. "It's been a long time coming."
McDermott, who completed 23 of 45 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns, found sophomore Jeremy Johnson, who was making his first start in place of injured senior Cole Beasley, on a 19-yard post corner route in the end zone to score the game-winner in overtime. Then the Mustangs' defense held the Frogs on fourth down to clinch the upset.
It was an emotional game to say the least. TCU, who was down by as many as 17 points and tied the game with just 1:16 left to play, had won 11 of the last 13 DFW matchups.
"We always expected a close game," Johnson said. "We wanted to be in that situation."
SMU (4-1) got off to a fast start as Zach Line caught a pass from McDermott and ran for 20 yards on the very first play of the game. The Mustangs would march downfield and take a 7-0 lead. They'd score on their next three series as well and go up 17-10 at halftime.
McDermott was able to exploit the Frogs' secondary, completing four touchdown passes, including two acrobatic catches by Darius Johnson, who had 12 receptions for 152 yards.
"He'll be playing on Sundays someday," coach June Jones said. "He's a big-time player. He makes plays every game. I just think he's a good kid and it's fun to see him excel."
Line had his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, racking up 120 of SMU's 150 yards on the ground.
A crucial point in the game came on the first play of the second half when Line, playing on special teams, forced TCU defensive back Greg McCoy to fumble the kickoff return. Chris Parks recovered the ball in the end zone and SMU extended its lead, 24-10.
SMU entered the game minus-8 in turnover margin, ranked 117th out of 118 teams in the country, and finally forced a key takeaway.
"That was a huge moment," Jones said. "[Special Team coordinator Frank] Gansz [Jr.] had been talking all week that this guy gives it up and that we could make a big play on a kickoff return even though he's scary when he runs it back. But we did it. We flew down there, made the hit, picked it up and that was huge."
At that point the life shot out of the crowd and empty seats started to litter the stadium.
But TCU (3-2) had been down in its previous two games and came back to win them, so they knew how to rally.
But SMU would come out on top in the end, beating its first ranked opponent in the Jones era (only its second since the Death Penalty in 1987) and ending TCU's 23-game home winning streak.
"We needed a win like this…a statement win," McDermott said. "Beating a ranked team. I'm at a loss for words. It's pretty awesome."
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