Recap: Baylor thrashes SMU 59-24 in opener

SMU lost its opener to Baylor on Sunday night thanks to key turnovers, costly mistakes

Nick Florence passed for 341 yards and a career-high four touchdowns as Baylor cruised to 59-24 win over SMU on Sunday evening.

Florence connected with Lanear Sampson and Jordan Najvar for scores on Baylor's first two possessions. SMU's defense picked up four flags on Baylor's first drive including two personal fouls and failed to slow down Florence as the game progressed.

"Those were killers," said SMU head coach June Jones. "You just can't have third down penalties, and I think we had three of them. When you've got a team backed up like this and you give them a first down, you beat yourself."

Safety Mike Hicks scooped up a Darius Johnson fumble and returned it 66 yards to make it 31-3, putting the game way out of reach early in the third quarter.

In the opener, Garrett Gilbert started his first game for SMU and completed 34 of 59 passes for two touchdowns. But the Texas transfer was also picked off twice.

"I thought he did some good things," Jones said. "He's just got to learn, keep learning and keep getting better. I saw enough good things in him that I thought he was the right kind of guy."

The first of the two turnovers came at a crucial time in the game. Down 14-3 midway in the second quarter, Gilbert had the Mustangs in scoring position but failed to capitalize.

Baylor brought a blitz and Gilbert made a quick throw to Johnson, who wasn't expecting the pass. The ball bounced off his chest, allowing Eddie Lackey to make the interception.

"I've got to play better," Gilbert said. "We can't turn the ball over in the red zone. We can't shoot ourselves in the foot the way we did."

It only took Baylor 39 seconds to reap the benefits as Florence hit Tevin Reese on a 50-yard touchdown bomb.

Gilbert's next interception also led to Baylor points as running back Jared Salubi scampered into the end zone from nine yards out. On Baylor's next possession, Florence threw a 36-yard touchdown to Sampson, which gave the Bears a 42-3 lead.

Gilbert answered with his first touchdown pass as a Mustang on 42-yard deep ball to Der'rikk Thompson but by then, the game was well out of reach.

SMU has yet to win a road opener since 1986 and will return home to host Stephen F. Austin on Saturday.

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