POSTED: Friday, December 25, 2009

It had been a couple of years, yet the images were all so familiar.

June Jones striding along the sideline at Aloha Stadium while a quarterback spread the ball to a gifted set of receivers to ring up record-breaking numbers.

After nine years orchestrating such scenes for Hawaii, Jones made a triumphant return to the islands yesterday, leading SMU to a 45-10 victory over Nevada in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

“;It just felt good to be back in what I call home,”; Jones said after recording his 56th career win in Aloha Stadium.

Jones had targeted the Hawaii Bowl as a goal for the Mustangs during fall camp, and after a 25-year absence from the postseason, they showed they were far from satisfied in just earning the trip to Honolulu.

A crowd of 20,217 (32,650 tickets issued) watched SMU quarterback Kyle Padron throw for a school-record 460 yards, while the SMU defense shut down the nation's top rushing offense.

A quarter-century after SMU edged Notre Dame in the Aloha Bowl, Padron seemed to channel Colt Brennan to complete 32 of 41 passes and capped his freshman season by throwing for a school-record 460 yards and two touchdowns.

Padron found Aldrick Robinson nine times for 176 yards and completed seven passes to slotback Emmanuel Sanders for 124 yards and a touchdown.

His passing set up running back Shawnbrey McNeal for three touchdowns on the ground.

“;(Padron) showed a lot of composure and threw some catchable balls on deep balls that we'd been working on, and competed,”; Jones said.





        2002: Tulane 36, Hawaii 28

2003: Hawaii 54, Houston 48, 3 OT


2004: Hawaii 59, UAB 40


2005: Nevada 49, Central Florida 48


2006: Hawaii 41, Arizona State 24


2007: East Carolina 41, Boise State 38


2008: Notre Dame 49, Hawaii 21


2009: SMU 45, Nevada 10


“;He'd shown that in the four or five games, flashes. He still did some things you'd like him to do better, but he took care of the football, which we asked him to do.”;

Nevada, missing its top two running backs, mustered little firepower out of the pistol offense.

The Wolf Pack generated just 66 yards on the ground in the first half while the Mustangs bolted from the gate to take a 31-0 lead into intermission.

Facing a Nevada defense ranked next to last in the FBS in defending the pass, the Mustangs' slotbacks attacked the middle of the Wolf Pack secondary on the first two throws for big plays.

Padron found Cole Beasley running free down the seam on the game's second play for a 71-yard gain, and McNeal gave the Mustangs the lead with a 9-yard run around the right side.

After the SMU defense stopped Nevada on downs, Padron hit Sanders for a 58-yard completion to the Wolf Pack 3 to set up McNeal's second touchdown in as many carries.

“;It was very big for us,”; Padron said of the Mustangs' blistering start. “;The past few games we stalled out a little bit after the first drive. It was good to put up 17 points in our first three drives and be consistent with it. That's the main thing we focused on this week.”;

Padron was just warming up, as he threw scoring passes to Sanders and Beasley in the second quarter to drain any remaining steam from a Nevada team closing out a trying bowl week.

Since arriving in town a week ago, running back Vai Taua was declared academically ineligible, a linebacker was kicked off the team following his arrest for shoplifting and a defensive back was suspended.

Nevada head coach Chris Ault said the distractions didn't impact the outcome as the Wolf Pack — the Western Athletic Conference's runner-up — suffered a fourth straight bowl defeat.

“;There's no question it's a bitter pill to swallow,”; Nevada head coach Chris Ault said. “;To play the way we did, not be in the ballgame, that is really tough. We're a better team than that and didn't show it.”;

SMU held Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a season-low 23 rushing yards. Forced to throw the ball more than usual, the junior completed 15 of 29 passes for 177 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

The Wolf Pack came into the game averaging 40.6 points and 362.2 yards on the ground. The SMU defense limited Nevada to 137 rushing yards and didn't allow a touchdown until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

“;Bottom line, we just didn't show up,”; Kaepernick said. “;We didn't play the way we were capable of. ... That game was embarrassing on a lot of different levels.”;

The Mustangs continued to roll in the second half, reveling in a win over a Nevada team favored by more than two touchdowns when the matchup was finalized.

“;Ninety-one percent of America thought we were going to lose,”; Sanders said, referencing ESPN's online polling.

Said linebacker Chase Kennemer: “;Everyone was counting us out right from the get-go. We definitely used that as motivation in the locker room.”;



First Quarter
SMU—McNeal 9 run (Szymanski kick), 13:29.
SMU—McNeal 1 run (Szymanski kick), 8:22.
SMU—FG Szymanski 22, 2:49.
Second Quarter
SMU—Sanders 17 pass from Padron (Szymanski kick), 5:37.
SMU—Beasley 2 pass from Padron (Szymanski kick), 1:17.
Third Quarter
SMU—Line 3 run (Szymanski kick), 7:45.
Nev—FG Drake 21, 3:08.
Fourth Quarter
SMU—McNeal 17 run (Szymanski kick), 3:27.
Nev—Wimberly 10 pass from Kaepernick (Drake kick), 1:04.


First downs1723
Return Yards(-3)28
Time of Possession27:1132:49

RUSHING—Nevada, Mark 15-90, Kaepernick 13-23, Ball 4-19, Randall 2-5. SMU, McNeal 12-63, Line 4-9, Padron 6-7, Team 2-(minus 5).
PASSING—Nevada, Kaepernick 15-29-1-177. SMU, Padron 32-41-0-460.
RECEIVING—Nevada, Wimberly 7-80, Wellington 2-32, Session 2-30, Sanders 1-23, V.Green 1-10, Puloka 1-5, Mark 1-(minus 3). SMU, A.Robinson 9-176, Sanders 7-124, McNeal 7-53, Beasley 3-88, Wilkerson 2-18, Loftin 1-4, Haynes 1-0, Line 1-0, Johnson 1-(minus 3).