By Zach Walker
This season of SMU Mustangs Football, deserves a new, fresher way of recapping the games. Rather than the drooling, boring full recap of a play-by-play, I’m going to highlight three moments in the game that were most crucial to the outcome.
A Summary of the Navy Game: Final Score: Navy 55 – SMU 14
Pretty awesome move from Chad Morris to give the senior quarterback Garrett Krstich the start, because his father was a captain at Navy back in the day. Admission of sloppy work by me: I didn’t know that it was Navy’s senior day. 32 players would be playing in front of their fans for the final time. No one wants to lose at home, multiplied tenfold on senior day, and with a chance to become the Midshipmen’s winningest senior class at home, the deck was stacked against the Mustangs. The Mustangs couldn’t start their engine, and couldn’t stop the machine that was the Navy wave-after-wave of hammer down their face run game. By the time SMU got their first, first down, they were down 21 points. The closest things to minor victories early in the game, were forcing the Navy offense to go for it on fourth and short, which were converted. I knew the SMU defense weren’t going to be much of a force against that sort of offense, but it was internal sabotage from their own offense not being able to get anything going until the final drive of the first half, by then, it was in the books.
#1: Third and four from the SMU 31 yard line: Down 14 points, and the defense struggling to weather the Navy storm, the offense needed to get going, with this being their third drive. Matt Davis tried to hit converted linebacker Derek Longoria on a shallow cross at the first down sticks. The Navy linebacker Tyler Goble maybe arrived to defend the pass a tick early, but it was solid coverage, and another three and out, forcing the SMU defense to continue to smash their heads against the wall. Score at this point: SMU 0 – Navy 14.
#2: First and ten from the Navy 21 yard line: The play was an overthrow towards Courtland Sutton, out of the back of the end zone. I like it, back them off a bit, and its first down, that’s still a smart play. What happened during that play, might have been the single, most poignant moment of SMU lack of composure I’ve seen in a long time. Right tackle, Kris Weeks took a full run and slammed straight into the back of rushing linebacker Brandon Jones, who Weeks had already removed from the play the correct way. It was dumb, and costly. Though they would pick some of the yardage back, just getting back to respectable position for a field goal must have over-exerted the Mustangs because they allowed the field goal attempt to be blocked. Score at this point: SMU 0 – Navy 21.
#3: First and ten from the Navy 28 yard line: From the point of which that blocked kick was recovered, the Navy 28 yard line, the game would get broken. Having completed only a single pass on the day, missing four open players in the open field. Keenan Reynolds hit a WIDE open Jamir Tillman for a 72-yard touchdown pass and officially sinking the SMU battleship. Score at this point: SMU 0 – Navy 28.