The 2011 Southern Miss team holds the NCAA record for most pick-sixes in a season with eight. The Golden Eagles went on to defeat Nevada 24-17 in last year’s Hawaii Bowl.
In this year’s version of the game, SMU tied USM’s NCAA record for interceptions returned for a touchdown thanks to a pair of late pick-sixes. In fact, SMU had more defensive points (14) than Fresno State had offensive points (10). Thanks to the Mustangs’ defensive efforts, SMU went on to beat the favored Bulldogs 43-10.
Leading the defensive effort for SMU was defensive end Margus Hunt, who had three tackles-for-loss, three sacks (one for a safety) and two forced fumbles. Hunt inflicted most of his damage in the first half, giving SMU a 22-0 halftime lead. The Mustangs held the Bulldogs to -16 yards rushing thanks in large part to a number of sacks on quarterback Derek Carr.
On offense, SMU running back Zach Line scored once for his 47th career rushing touchdown, tying Erikc Dickerson for a school record.
SMU now has back-to-back bowl wins in consecutive years for the first time in history and finishes the season 7-6. Fresno State finishes 9-4 after winning five in a row to end the season.