'Dogs Fall to SMU in Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl

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Dec. 24, 2012

By Jason Clay

HONOLULU- The SMU Mustangs denied the Fresno State football a chance at registering its first 10-win season since 2001, as they defeated the Bulldogs 43-10 Monday in the 2012 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.

The loss ends Fresno State's five-game winning streak it carried with them after capturing the Mountain West title in its first season in the league. The Bulldogs end the season with a 9-4 overall record while SMU finished 7-6.

"I was surprised, I thought it was going to be a very competitive game," said head coach Tim DeRuyter, who already had become the winningest first-year coach in Fresno State history. "People were talking about the explosive offensives, but we thought both defenses were pretty good and it was going to come down to take-aways. They are a well-coached team, got good players and out-played us today."

SMU's defense out powered the Bulldog offense, forcing the 'Dogs to turn the ball over four times and sacking Derek Carr seven times. Margus Hunt, the SMU MVP of the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, had two of those sacks, one of which was in the end zone for a safety and he forced a fumble on the other.

The seven sacks Fresno State allowed in the game were the most all year. The Bulldogs had five sacks of their own, which was the third time this year they registered five sacks in a game.

"We got to protect better, but give SMU all the credit they did a heck of a job," DeRuyter said. "I thought in the first half [Hunt] was clearly a problem for us. He did a heck of a job and was a beast to be blocked."

The Mustangs held a 22-0 lead at the half. Fresno State, set up by a 50-yard interception return by Sean Alston, got on the board early in the third with a Carr six-yard touchdown pass to Davante Adams.

However, SMU countered on the drive after that with a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to take the wind out of the Bulldogs' sail.

Carr finished the game completing 33-of-54 for 362 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions. He set a new Mountain West single-season record for passing yards with 4,104, which is just the second 4,000-yard passing season in school history.

"We got humbled. Sometimes I guess you don't want to say that, but you may need that," Carr said. "I know this gives us something to work for in the offseason. I can't wait to move on from this one and get going."

Adams' touchdown gave him a TD reception in eight-straight games to end the year. He tied Henry Ellard's record set back in 1982 for consecutive games with a touchdown.

Adams was named the Bulldog MVP of the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. He finished the game with 13 catches for 144 yards and the one touchdown. This was his third-straight 100-yard receiving game and sixth this year, which ties for the third-most in Bulldog history.

The Bulldog defense, which has already recorded the biggest turnover turnaround from one year to the next, got two turnovers in the game. Alston was responsible for both, picking off two passes and he extended Fresno State's streak to 11-straight games with a pick. That is the longest active streak in the FBS.

DeRuyter said the Bulldogs will now be able to build off this season and use this loss to relight the team's fire going into the offseason.

"We challenged our returning guys to use this as motivation for next year, we are not where we need to be," DeRuyter said. "I hate that this obviously takes a little bit of the shine of this season that we didn't finish the way we wanted to, especially for these seniors, but I'm sure this is motivation for these guys."

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