In a battle between two prominent offenses, clock management became the name of the game in the first half. SMU took the ball down the field on the opening drive and scored on a 26 yard field goal, for a total of 5 minutes and 23 seconds. Following that opening score, Navy took over with the same intentions of holding onto the ball for a long period of time, as the Navy Midshipmen typically do. By the end of the first quarter, Navy was still on their first drive of the game. That same first drive capped off with a Zach Abey one yard rushing touchdown after 11 minute and 21 seconds.
The second quarter consisted of sloppy play from both teams. The half concluded with back-to-back fumbles from each team and a missed field goal by SMU Mustangs kicker, Kevin Robledo.
The second half began with punts from both teams on their first possessions. On the Midshipmen’s second possession of the 3rd quarter, star quarterback, Malcolm Perry was pulled out from the game from an apparent head injury. Backup, Garret Lewis entered the game and took over without issue.
On that same drive, Lewis completed a 25 yard touchdown pass to Mychal Cooper, giving the Midshipmen the lead. However, the SMU Mustangs had an immediate answer. On the subsequent kickoff, SMU returner, Reggie Roberson Jr, took it to the house for a 98 yard touchdown.
The fourth quarter opened up with a huge fourth down stand by the Navy defense on their own 6 yard line. Instead of taking the points from the short field goal, SMU coach, Sony Dykes maintained his aggressive nature, as he did all game, and went for the touchdown. The SMU offensive failure was quickly bailed out by their defense when they forced their third fumble of the game and recovered the ball on the Navy 2 yard line.
SMU scored moments later bringing the score to Navy 16 - SMU 23. The point after attempt was blocked by Navy’s Jarvis Polu and returned for two points by defensive back, Jarid Ryan, shifting the momentum back to the Midshipme.
With just under seven minutes left in the fourth quarter, Navy running back, CJ Williams broke a long 52 yard touchdown run to tie the game 23-23. The rest of the fourth quarter was uneventful and we headed into overtime.
Navy started off the overtime period with the ball and scored on nine plays. Similarly, the Mustangs scored without much difficulty, but unlike the Midshipmen, SMU was set on the game ending right then and there. On SMU’s 2 point conversion attempt, the Mustang offense opened up in an Empty formation. SMU quarterback, Ben Hicks, sent multiple players in motion, leaving the offense in an unusual formation where it had a running back and tight end in the back field, two receivers out wide, and a offensive lineman in the slot position. On the snap, tight end, James Proche, ran across the formation and caught a short pass just inside the end zone from Hicks to win the game.
The referees called the pass a touchdown initially, but took about ten minutes on the field to discuss the formation. Eventually, the head referee went to review the play. Ultimately, the play was deemed legal and the game ended, SMU 31 - Navy 30.
Two of Navy’s top three quarterbacks were injured in this week’s game. Malcolm Perry came out of the game early in the second half and was seen on the sideline wearing sunglasses, typical of a player who had a concussion earlier in the game. It is unsure as to the exact play when Perry was injured, however it was clear that his game was a little off much earlier in the match.
Wide receiver/quarterback, Zach Abey, also experienced a lower body injury in the game and did not return. Abey is primarily used at quarterback in short yardage/goal line situations.
Both injuries will likely be short term, and Garret Lewis is Navy’s most capable passing quarterback. However, it is clear that the injuries were detrimental to the Navy offense this Saturday.
This was Navy’s first loss to SMU since November 21, 1998. Next week, the Midshipmen have a bye week, which will allow them to learn from their mistakes, rest up, and prepare for Air Force. After a loss to a struggling SMU team, Navy will have to take a long look at themselves before they start facing much tougher opponents later in the season.