Scores

Final/OT

SMU 45

(7-5, 6-2 American)

East Carolina 38

(6-6, 5-3 American)

2:00 PM ET, November 26, 2010

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC

1 2 3 4 OT T
SMU 0 10 21 7 745
ECU 14 0 3 21 038

Top Performers

Passing: K. Padron (EWU) - 331 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: Z. Line (WEST) - 30 CAR, 123 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: L. Lewis (ECU) - 8 REC, 154 YDS, 2 TD

SMU takes West, secures spot for C-USA title 

Associated Press

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Zach Line scored on a short touchdown run in overtime and Richard Crawford followed with the game-ending interception to help Southern Methodist beat East Carolina 45-38 on Friday, clinching a spot in the Conference USA championship game.

Line scored on a 1-yard run to start the overtime for the Mustangs (7-5, 6-2), then Crawford came up with the huge defensive play by stepping in front of Lance Lewis and catching Dominique Davis' quick throw.

The play sent SMU players spilling onto the field to celebrate with Crawford, who after being tackled raced all the way to the end zone with his teammates in pursuit. Meanwhile, Lewis stayed on the ground, his face buried in the turf.

Line ran for 123 yards and also had a fourth-quarter touchdown for SMU, which rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit but also blew a 38-24 lead in the final 10 minutes against the Pirates (6-6, 5-3).

SMU earned at least a share of the West Division championship with the victory, though the tiebreaker favored the Mustangs over Tulsa and sent them to next week's league title game against either Central Florida or Southern Mississippi.

Tulsa played Southern Miss later Friday.

Kyle Padron threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns for the Mustangs, while Cole Beasley and Aldrick Robinson each had 100-yard receiving days to go with a score. Ja'Gared Davis also returned a fumble for a touchdown in a 21-point third quarter that kept the Mustangs in control for most of the second half before the Pirates staged their own rally to force overtime.

Davis scored on a 9-yard run with about 5 minutes left to cut SMU's lead in half, then the Pirates forced a three-and-out to get the ball back once more with 2:39 left. They drove all the way to the 7-yard line before Davis sent a short pass on the left side to Lewis, who took a hit by Crawford and Chris Banjo at the goal line and fell into the end zone with 12 seconds left to tie it.

Jon Williams ran for two touchdowns for East Carolina, while Davis threw for 314 yards. But after getting off to a fast start, the Pirates' spread offense struggled for yardage and to extend drives to expand their early lead while the Mustangs seemed to get better as the game wore on.

East Carolina entered the day with slim hopes of returning to the league championship game and pursuing a third straight C-USA crown. But the Pirates had to win this one, then have Southern Miss beat Tulsa and Memphis beat Central Florida on Saturday to create a three-way tie atop the East Division.

SMU, facing the much simpler win-and-in scenario, took all the complex tiebreakers out of the equation with that dramatic finish.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
SMU
ECU
1st Downs2125
Total Yards450452
Passing331314
Rushing119138
Penalties5-546-44
3rd Down Conversions12-176-14
4th Down Conversions1-12-2
Turnovers12
Possession32:3227:28

Passing Leaders

SMUC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Padron21/343319.730
East CarolinaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Davis33/453147.021

Rushing Leaders

SMUCARYDSAVGTDLG
Line301234.1225
Padron671.206
East CarolinaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams14876.2228
Ruffin11716.5018

Receiving Leaders

SMURECYDSAVGTDLG
Robinson512925.8153
Beasley911813.1148
East CarolinaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lewis815419.3251
Harris10575.709

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERSMUECU
TD12:18Jonathan Williams 2 Yd Run. (Michael Barbour Kick) 07
TD04:49Jonathan Williams 2 Yd Run. (Michael Barbour Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERSMUECU
FG10:50Matt Szymanski 28 Yd 314
TD01:09Keenan Holman 15 Yd Pass From Kyle Padron. (Matt Szymanski Kick) 1014
THIRD QUARTERSMUECU
TD09:53Cole Beasley 6 Yd Pass From Kyle Padron. (Matt Szymanski Kick) 1714
TD05:07Ja'Gared Davis 33 Yd Fumble Return. (Matt Szymanski Kick) 2414
FG03:10Michael Barbour 33 Yd 2417
TD01:18Aldrick Robinson 53 Yd Pass From Kyle Padron. (Matt Szymanski Kick) 3117
FOURTH QUARTERSMUECU
TD13:54Lance Lewis 16 Yd Pass From Dominique Davis. (Michael Barbour Kick) 3124
TD09:10Zach Line 5 Yd Run. (Matt Szymanski Kick) 3824
TD05:12Dominique Davis 9 Yd Run. (Michael Barbour Kick) 3831
TD00:12Lance Lewis 7 Yd Pass From Dominique Davis. (Michael Barbour Kick) 3838
OVERTIMESMUECU
TDZach Line 1 Yd Run. (Matt Szymanski Kick) 4538