GREENVILLE — Preston Stone threw three touchdown passes, Jonathan McGill returned an interception for a touchdown and SMU beat ECU 31-10 Thursday night in a defensive battle.
The teams combined for 16 three-and-outs and 20 punts.
Stone, who finished 19-of-38 passing for 276 yards with no interceptions, threw 21-yard TD pass to Key’Shawn Smith with 7:09 left in the first quarter and, after the Pirates went three-and-out, connected with Roderick Daniels Jr. for a 24-yard touchdown about 2 minutes later that gave SMU (4-2, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) a 14-0 lead.
Javious Bond suffered an apparent lower-body injury on the opening kickoff and did not return for ECU (1-5, 0-2). The freshman who went into the game leading the team in yards per carry (6.7) — as well as special teams tackles (four) — and second in rushing yards (187).
SMU went three-and-out on each of its first three second-half drives (with zero net yards) and, after the its fourth possession stalled at the ECU 21, Collin Rogers pulled a 38-yard field goal-attempt wide left with 37 seconds left in the third quarter. Kobe Wilson ripped the ball from the hands of Alex Flinn on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving SMU possession at the Pirates 32 before. After two incomplete passes and a run a 1-yard loss, Rogers kicked a career-long 50-yard field goal to make it 17-0 with 13:18 to play.
McGill — a fifth-year safety who transferred from Stanford, where he made 24 total starts and was a captain last season — added 34-yard pick-6 midway through the fourth and tight end RJ Maryland made a contested catch at the 10 and then broke a would-be tackle near the goal line on his way to a 43-yard touchdown catch-and-run to cap the scoring with 2:29 left.
Freshman Chase Sowell, who went into the game with 15 receptions for 148 yards, had 120 yards receiving on seven catches for the Pirates.