Navy Midshipmen at SMU Mustangs: Game Preview

CJ Sanders and the Mustangs are used to playing in the rain. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Zach Walker

Game Info
Navy Midshipmen vs SMU Mustangs
Saturday – September 22 – 11:00 a.m.
TV: ESPNN
Gerald J. Ford Stadium

Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs: 0-3 (0-0 in AAC)
Navy Midshipmen: 2-1 (1-0 in AAC)

Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: One could peer at the schedule of teams that this Mustangs’ team has lost to and chalk it up to one of the most difficult non-conference schedules in all of college football, and they can smile about beating the spread in Ann Arbor. Though players can learn lessons in a loss, the key is always learning how to win. Ben Hicks has to get back around to winning or else his job is going to be a loss, and it really didn’t fare well for Hicks that the bullpen quarterback William Brown led two touchdown drives. Brown got lit up in the end and will probably be shelved for the Navy game, though another poor first half performance from Hicks, which pretty much means any form of turnover early, and the Hilltop could be witnessing a new quarterback for the season. Good news out of the Michigan game, James Proche appears to have turned the lights on, with a monster outing. Eleven catches for 166 yards and a pair of scores, one from each of the quarterbacks. The Mustangs need to jump out early on the Midshipmen and stay ahead of the sticks to keep the relentless wave of the Naval offense on the sideline as much as they can. The Navy defense has been susceptible to explosive plays this early on in the season, allowing seven touchdowns of 30 or more yards.

When Navy has the ball: You know, I know, we know exactly what the Naval Academy does, how they’re going do it, and that it works. Once they get opponents to start to fear the miss-directions of that triple-option offense, it’s a juggernaut to try and bring down. Triggerman of their offense, quarterback Malcolm Perry, ran for 223 yards against Lehigh a week ago and found the endzone three times. When a team can roll into a stadium and legitimately threaten to post 400 yards of rushing against them, that’s serious force rolling through. It puts a massive strain on team tackling, angles, and depth on defense. In games like this, the Mustangs have to play smart and really force the Navy offense into tough situations. Mikial Onu, Rodney Clemons, and Kyran Mitchell have to come up big for the Mustangs’ defense or this game can get ugly.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
Like I mention every time this game comes back around on the schedule, it takes tackling on defense. Getting the ball carrier to the ground, early in his attempt, and get the chains on the SMU side.

Prediction
Navy 38 – SMU 24