Mustangs take huge step forward

December, 25, 2009
12/25/09
9:19
AM CT
I'll be the first to admit that I didn't predict SMU dominating a good Nevada team. But from the opening series, it was clear SMU wasn't just in Hawaii to play in a bowl and have some fun. They wanted to finish a turnaround season with a big win. And they did.

While Kyle Padron broke school records and put up 460 yards passing, it's the defense that has to encourage Mustang fans the most. They didn't allow Nevada much of anything (the final touchdown wasn't until late in the fourth quarter when the game was over).

The win is another reminder of how far the program has come this season. It's well ahead of schedule. First, SMU makes a bowl game for the first time in 25 years. Then they get a winning season before getting to Hawaii. Now they've followed that up with a victory in the postseason game. Amazing stuff.

It's a young team that returns plenty at key positions next year. Padron, just a freshman, has a bright future in June Jones' system. There's little doubt SMU is back and the Ponies have staying power.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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