ANNAPOLIS, MD — The Navy Midshipmen capped their Veterans Day Celebration with a 43-40 victory over the Southern Methodist University on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
The win put an end to the (6-3,4-3) Midshipmen’s three-game losing streak, while the loss was the second heartbreaker in a row for the Mustangs.
SMU (6-4,3-3) wasn’t able to score a touchdown until 6:39 in the second quarter, when Ben Hicks found Trey Quinn for a 19-yard pitch and catch, but after a missed PAT the Mustangs found themselves trailing 20-11. Josh Williams gave SMU its first points of the game, as he drilled a
44-yard field goal.
Navy lined up and pounded the ball down the field via the triple option attack. The Midshipmen decided to go for it on fourth and one from the SMU 25-yard line and Josh Brown broke off a 22-yard run that set up an Anthony Gargiulo touchdown and the first lead of the game for Navy.
Navy would go on to score four more touchdowns before heading into halftime and all via the ground. SMU went into halftime down 34-11, leaving Head Coach Chad Morris scrambling to figure out how to get his team going.
The Mustangs finally found their groove in the third quarter and Ben Hicks was able to throw two touchdown passes. Hicks connected with Courtland Sutton on a 14-yard pass after a nine-play drive and he was able to find James Proche on a 17-yard strike with 1:21 left in the quarter.
Xavier Jones used followed his blockers and broke the goal line on a 3 yard run for the Mustangs only rushing touchdown of the game. Navy was able to keep a 40-32 lead at the end of the third quarter, despite the success that SMU had. Malcolm Perry took the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown run and extended the Midshipmen’s lead to 40-25.
After a back and forth defensive tussle in the fourth quarter, SMU was able to tie the game up 40-40, after Hicks hit Sutton on a 29-yard strike. The Midshipmen took advantage of the last possession of the game, as they ran 10 plays for 78 yards and set up a J.R. Osborn game-winning field goal from 18 yards out.
Both teams have qualified for bowl eligibility, but the SMU loss will likely cost them a chance at the AAC West Divisional Title. SMU will travel to Memphis next week to face the Tigers and Navy will head to South Bend for a game against Notre Dame.