SMU coach June Jones said Tuesday that senior J.J. McDermott will start at quarterback against UTEP on Saturday.
Jones said junior Kyle Padron will play in the game but that McDermott, a transfer from New Mexico State, will get the start after evaulating both quarterbacks during the Texas A&M loss Sunday.
Padron started the game by throwing two interceptions in his first four passes as SMU fell behind early. McDermott came in for the third series and played the rest of the game. He threw a 27-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter as the Mustangs got as close as 20-14 before A&M went on to a 46-14 win.
Jones never did re-insert Padron in the game.
"He was playing pretty well," Jones said of McDermott. "I thought I was going to put Kyle [Padron] back in the game, but I wanted him to gather himself, and it looked like it was the right decision."
Padron had 3,828 yards and 31 touchdowns in setting an SMU record in 2010. But he also had some key turnovers late in the season. Jones said he told Padron he just has to play his way out of his struggles and he said that Padron has handled the change well this week.
"Every quarterback goes through that," Jones told the media on Tuesday. "You just have to have no conscience. Jim Kelly threw five picks in the first half and then three five touchdowns in the second half. That’s just what you have to do. If you’re going to play that position, then you have to deal with it."
Saturday's game with UTEP starts at 6 p.m. at Ford Stadium.