By Zach Walker
Records Before the Game
#16 SMU Mustangs: 9-1; 5-1 in AAC (Last Week: Idle Week – No Game)
Navy Midshipmen: 7-2; 5-1 in AAC (Last Week: L at #15 Notre Dame – 52-20)
Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: This Mustangs’ team is just so fun to watch. When they uncork it, they can make it rain. They’ve scored forty or more points in eight games this season. Against the feisty East Carolina, the Mustangs were forced to stay all GAS and survived the shootout, where the numbers get loco. James Proche (14/167/2), Kylen Granson (7/138/3) and the resurgence of Xavier Jones (20/157/3). Jones was going yard in a hurry, with touchdowns of 35 yards and 64 yards. The idle week might have come at the perfect time, a nice rest week to help get Reggie Roberson back on to the field, where they could really use him for the team’s trip to the Naval Academy. It can be a completely different look that the Midshipmen with show if it’s Proche on one side and Roberson lining up opposite formation. The Navy defense is a very strong unit, as to be expected from an Armed Forces’ team, and they swarm to the action really well, so if Roberson is a scratch again, it can be a real struggle for the Mustangs.
When Navy has the ball: It’s reasons like that why I hate Notre Dame. They want to be something, they can’t beat Georgia or Michigan in “We’re here” games, but they will beat Navy right before SMU has a game against Navy, stripping the Naval Academy of their AP ranking, so IF the Mustangs were to win, it’s no longer quite as spicy a win for the Mustangs. Some things change, some things stay the same. The Navy triple-option offense is a throwback for sure, but they wouldn’t use it if it didn’t work. It’s always just such a battle of attrition, when tackles have to be made on useless moving parts with all the actions, fakes, and dead-ends in the Navy offense. The Mustangs are going to have to preach gap discipline on defense, this is a game where there’s going to have to be 100 tackles made for the Mustangs to keep on keeping on.
What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Rodney Clemons, Trevor Denbow, Richard McBryde, Gary Wiley, and Patrick Nelson are going to need to staple guys to the ground when they get their hands on them, and they rest they had a week ago needs to have filled the tank, because it’s a complete field game against Navy, North-South obviously, but the East-West spread that Navy works in is just such a grind.
SMU – 41
Navy – 38