GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) Holton Ahlers threw for four first-half touchdowns and East Carolina held off SMU's second-half rally for a 52-38 victory on Saturday.

ECU (3-6, 3-5 American) scored a touchdown on its first six possessions of the game, and closed the half with a short field goal for a 45-7 lead.

Ahlers was 11-of-17 passing for 158 yards in the first half. WR Tyler Snead also had a passing touchdown on a reverse and Keaton Mitchell rushed for 57 yards and a score.

SMU (7-3, 4-3) battled back in the second half with four touchdowns. Shane Buechele scored on a QB sneak and later connected with Ulysses Bentley IV as the Mustangs scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter.

But Darius Pinnix Jr. sealed it by capping a five-play, 75-yard drive with a short TD run for a 52-24 lead early in the fourth.

Ahlers finished with 298 yards passing, while Buechele was 35 of 50 for 314 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

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