HONOLULU (AP) -- Margus Hunt knew he had eight hours to fill on the flight over the Pacific Ocean, so he asked the SMU staff to put together film of Fresno State for him to study. He hit the Bulldogs like a tidal wave Monday night in the Hawaii Bowl.
The 6-foot-8 defensive end raced around right tackle to blindside Derek Carr and force a fumble. Hunt smashed into running back Robbie Rouse on a delayed handoff and forced another fumble. On a three-man rush, he sacked Carr in the end zone for a safety.
It was an inspiring performance by the senior from Estonia, and it set the tone for the Mustangs’ 43-10 win.
The Mustangs (7-6) also returned two interceptions for touchdowns, giving them eight for the season to tie the NCAA record set last year by Southern Miss. Hayden Greenbauer picked off Carr and returned it 83 yards with 1:14 left, the final blow to a miserable night for the Bulldogs (9-4).
SMU had seven sacks, more than double the most Fresno State had given up in a game all year.
Garrett Gilbert was effective with his arm and his legs, running for a 17-yard touchdown for the first score of the game and throwing a perfect strike to Darius Johnson for a 21-yard score to answer the Bulldogs’ only touchdown. He rushed for 98 yards on 18 carries and threw for 212 yards. But this game was decided by the Mustangs’ defense, with Hunt leading the way. He was voted the game’s MVP.