College Football

No. 23 SMU Bounces Back, Tops East Carolina

No. 23 SMU 59, East Carolina 51

Shane Buechele threw five touchdown passes, Xavier Jones broke one of Eric Dickerson's school records and No. 23 SMU bounced back from a first loss that changed the course of its season by outscoring East Carolina 59-51 on Saturday.

The Mustangs (9-1, 5-1 American Athletic) played from ahead and kept it that way in a second straight game with more than 1,000 combined yards. SMU had fallen behind and failed to close the gap last week in a 54-48 loss to No. 19 Memphis.

Tight end Kylen Granson caught three touchdowns, including a 31-yarder on fourth-and-20 with SMU leading 45-44 midway through the fourth quarter. Granson had 138 yards on seven receptions, while James Proche finished with 14 catches for 167 yards.

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"We've got a great quarterback, we've got great skill players, we've got great tight ends," said Granson, who had career highs for yards and TDs. "The fact that he was willing to go for a fourth-and-long like that, I feel a little big for my boots. He trusted me."

On the ensuing kickoff, East Carolina's Jsi Hatfield couldn't pick up the loose ball around his 15-yard line and SMU recovered. That led to Proche's second touchdown catch.

Proche, a senior, had broken Emmanuel Sanders' school record with his 35th career touchdown catch on his first score of the day.

Buechele threw for 414 yards as the Mustangs finished with 636 total yards to 644 for the Pirates (3-7, 0-6).

Jones, who ran for 157 yards, had three rushing touchdowns for the third time this season, giving him 18. His total touchdowns reached 20, one more than the Pro Football Hall of Famer Dickerson had in 1981 -- all on the ground.

SMU started 8-0 for the first time since Dickerson was leading the Pony Express in his final season in 1982. But the loss to Memphis left the Mustangs needing help to reach the AAC championship game even if they win their final two regular-season games.

"Our guys showed up on Sunday and had the exact frame of mind we wanted them to have," coach Sonny Dykes said. "We didn't have to beg them to practice. They showed up and handled their business."

East Carolina's Tyler Snead caught 19 passes for 240 yards, both career highs. Snead's previous best was six catches, and at one point he caught seven straight passes from Holton Ahlers. The Football Bowl Subdivision high for receptions in a game this season coming in was 16.

Ahlers threw for 498 yards a week after setting a school record with 535 yards when the Pirates lost to No. 17 Cincinnati 46-43 on a field goal on the final play.

"I hurt for our kids because they fight," coach Mike Houston said. "I'm just really, really, I'm hurting for them. They're fighters. They're winners. And it's only a matter of time."


East Carolina: When his first season is over, Houston could easily point to this two-week stretch as the most significant progress for a program with a 4-26 conference record going back to 2016. The Pirates showed well against consecutive Top 25 opponents.

SMU: Defense is suddenly an issue for the Mustangs, who have allowed at least 500 yards four times in five games after posting mostly respectable numbers early in the season.


Both teams are off next weekend before playing their final road games Nov. 23. East Carolina goes to UConn, and SMU will be at No. 25 Navy.

Texas Tech roughs up West Virginia 38-17
Texas Tech scored touchdowns on its first five possessions and cruised to a 38-17 win over West Virginia
AP Photo WVCJ104, WVCJ101, WVCJ103, WVCJ102
Eds: Texas Tech 38, West Virginia 17. Updates with details, quotes. Will be updated. With AP Photos.
AP Sports Writer
   MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Ta'Zhawn Henry and SaRodorick Thompson each had two short scoring runs, Jett Duffey moved Texas Tech's offense at will in the first half and the Red Raiders used a fast start to beat West Virginia 38-17 on Saturday, handing the Mountaineers their fifth straight loss.
   Texas Tech (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) broke a three-game losing streak and now has a bowl bid to fight for with three games left, two of them at home.
   West Virginia (3-6, 1-5) fell into a last-place tie with idle Kansas.
   Texas Tech scored touchdowns on its first five drives and led 35-10 at halftime. Duffey accounted for 281 of Texas Tech's 337 first-half yards. He took advantage of a decimated secondary with four first-half passes of 20 yards or longer, including an 81-yard scoring toss to a wide-open Dalton Rigdon.
   "I thought Jett took care of the ball, took control of the ball, ran it well, didn't take any major shots," said Texas Tech coach Matt Wells. "He's really done a nice job of protecting the ball in the pocket better."
   Duffey finished 24 of 34 for 354 yards.
   "A frustrating day all the way around," said West Virginia coach Neal Brown. "We got off to an extremely poor start defensively. We didn't get pressure on the quarterback all day."
   The Red Raiders managed just a field goal after halftime and didn't allow West Virginia to mount a comeback. The Mountaineers outgained Texas Tech 549-481 but squandered several scoring chances.
   West Virginia turned the ball over on downs four times after incompletions deep in Texas Tech territory.
   West Virginia's Austin Kendall was intercepted twice, one of them into triple coverage that Texas Tech's DeMarcus Fields caught in the end zone in the third quarter. Kendall also fumbled the ball away on fourth down as he was hit attempting a first-quarter pass.
   Kendall finished 26 of 43 for 355 yards before being replaced late in the third quarter by Bowling Green transfer Jarret Doege, who made his season debut. Kendall and Doege each threw a touchdown pass.
   West Virginia wide receiver Sam James caught 14 passes for 223 yards.
   West Virginia's losing streak is its worst since losing five straight in 2012.
   Texas Tech: The Red Raiders appeared at ease in their impressive first-half performance and can become bowl eligible with wins in two of their final three games.
   West Virginia: The Mountaineers looked out of sorts on defense and never recovered. West Virginia didn't get a sack after recording eight against Baylor in its last game. The Mountaineers now must win all three remaining games to get to a bowl.
   Texas Tech tight end Travis Koontz was ejected from the game for targeting for a third-quarter hit on safety Kerry Martin.
   West Virginia has lost three home games for the first time since the 2014 season, when it finished 7-6. The home finale is Nov. 23 against Oklahoma State. The last time the Mountaineers lost four times at home was in 1990, when it finished with five home losses.
   Texas Tech: Hosts TCU next Saturday.
   West Virginia: Plays at Kansas State next Saturday.

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