Shane Buechele threw five touchdown passes and Xavier Jones rushed for three scores to lead No. 25 SMU to a 59-51 shootout victory over East Carolina in an American Athletic Conference game Saturday in Dallas.
The teams combined for 1,280 yards with SMU (9-1, 5-1 AAC) gaining 636 and Eastern Carolina 644.
Buechele, a transfer from Texas, completed 33 of 46 passes for 414 yards with an interception. James Proche caught 14 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns, and Kylen Granson had seven catches for 138 yards and three scores.
Xavier Jones finished with 157 yards on 20 carries.
East Carolina’s Holton Ahlers, who had six touchdown passes without an interception, completed 32 of 42 passes for 498 yards. Tyler Snead had 19 receptions for 240 yards with three touchdowns.
East Carolina (3-7, 0-6) rallied to make the game close after trailing 28-10 with 4:45 left in the second quarter. The Pirates scored twice in the last 2:04 of the half to make it 28-20 and carry momentum into halftime.
The Pirates continued their scoring after receiving the kickoff to open the second half. Ahlers’ 45-yard pass to Zech Byrd capped a quick three-play possession, cutting the SMU lead to 28-27 with 13:53 left in the third quarter.
The game remained close with each team trading scores. Eastern Carolina scored either a touchdown or field goal for six consecutive possessions before a fumble on its second-to-last possession that allowed the Mustangs to gain separation. SMU scored on each of its five full possessions of the second half.
Jones’ third rushing touchdown -- a 64-yarder -- with 19 seconds left in the third quarter put SMU ahead 45-37, but Ahlers answered with his fifth touchdown pass, a 57-yarder to Snead that capped a 10-play, 97-yard drive.
Buechele then completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Granson, and after a fumble on the kickoff, Buechele increased the lead to 59-44 with a 3-yard touchdown toss to Proche.
--Field Level Media