Nov. 23, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Freshman backup quarterback Neal Burcham led two third-quarter scoring drives to help SMU overcome the loss of injured starter Garrett Gilbert and beat South Florida 16-6 on Saturday night.
Gilbert left with 1:21 to play in first half when he hurt his leg while attempting to slide while running the football and was assisted off the field. Gilbert, who was 19-for-23 for 138 yards, was replaced by Burcham. Gilbert entered the game leading the nation in total offense at 405.7 yards per game. Over his previous five games, the senior was even more productive, averaging 459 yards with 17 touchdowns and just one interception.
Senior wideout Jeremy Johnson hauled in 13 catches for 82 yards on the evening, setting a new school single-season record with 100 receptions on the year. The old record was held by former Mustang standout and current Pittsburgh Steeler Emmanuel Sanders, who had 98 receptions in 2009.
SMU (5-5, 4-2) has won four of its past five and can become bowl eligible by winning one of its remaining two games. The Mustangs travel to Houston before finishing up at home against American Athletic Conference leader Central Florida.
Chris Dunkley had a late fourth-quarter 50-yard punt return touchdown for USF's only score.
Burcham extended the lead to 16-0 with a 37-yard TD pass to Der'rikk Thompson on 4th-and-1 on the final play of the third quarter.
The Mustangs went up 3-0 on their first possession when Hover made a 25-yard field goal, which accounted for all of the first-half points.
Next up for the Mustangs is a Friday, Nov. 29 trip to Houston, Texas to face the Houston Cougars. Kickoff is slated for 11:00 a.m. CT and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2. Tickets can be purchased online at smumustangs.com/tickets.