The very last thing No. 24 SMU wanted was to fall too far behind towards a methodical Navy staff.
The second the Mustangs appeared like they could be in bother, Bryan Massey turned the sport round with a protracted kickoff return.
“I assumed that gave us somewhat little bit of momentum again,” SMU coach Sonny Dykes mentioned. “The factor I used to be most happy with our guys about doing, they only saved their head down, by no means seemed on the scoreboard. We speak to them on a regular basis about doing that.”
Tanner Mordecai threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns, and the unbeaten Mustangs rallied from a 14-point second-quarter deficit to beat Navy 31-24 on Saturday. Massey’s 95-yard kickoff return started the comeback, and SMU’s protection held agency for a lot of the second half.
SMU (6-0, 2-0 American Athletic Convention) had the sport tied by halftime and went up 31-24 on a 22-yard TD pass from Mordecai to Jordan Kerley with 8:19 remaining within the ultimate quarter.
“That was heartbreaking for our younger males and this system to play the Twenty fourth-ranked staff right here and be up 21-7,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo mentioned. “We have been feeling fairly good about the place we have been at.”
Mordecai now has 26 landing passes on the season. He additionally threw a 66-yarder to Reggie Roberson on fourth-and-1 to open the scoring, however Navy (1-4, 1-2) answered with the subsequent 21 factors.
Probability Warren tied the sport with a 23-yard scoring run, then Tai Lavatai threw the primary landing cross of the season for the Midshipmen, 37 yards to Kai Puailoa-Rojas on a flea-flicker.
Then a pair massive turnovers went Navy’s method. Mordecai was intercepted ultimately zone, and later within the second quarter, he fumbled — and Diego Fagot returned that turnover 20 yards for a landing and a 21-7 lead.
Navy by no means had an opportunity to get comfy, although. Massey took the following kickoff all the best way again for a landing, after which Tre Siggers scored on a 2-yard run to tie it with 1:54 left within the half.
After Kerley’s catch ultimately zone put the Mustangs forward within the fourth, Navy turned the ball over on downs twice, the second time inside its personal 20.
SMU: The Mustangs struggled on third down, going 2 of 11, however they did sufficient to win. After giving up the lengthy landing cross, the SMU protection saved Navy’s offense just about below management. The Midshipmen ran for 177 yards however wanted 53 carries to do it.
“They hit us on the flea-flicker. Clearly that was a giant play, received some momentum, after which the inside track for a landing,” Dykes mentioned. “Apart from that, they put one drive collectively after which kicked a subject objective, so defensively, I assumed we performed unbelievable.”
Navy: The Midshipmen have made strides since dropping their first two video games of the season by a mixed rating of 72-10. Navy’s protection principally hung robust towards a harmful offensive staff, however after going up 21-7, the Midshipmen could not transfer the ball persistently.
“For probably the most half, their technique was to not allow us to get the sting,” Lavatai mentioned. “I missed a few reads. I believe I adjusted fairly nicely, however total we have now to execute higher.”
Navy did not mount a lot of a cross rush towards SMU, however the Midshipmen did grew to become the primary staff with a sack towards the Mustangs this season. That was on the play when Mordecai misplaced the ball and Navy ran it again for a landing.
“We type of shot ourselves within the foot, particularly me,” Mordecai mentioned. “That fumble and the interception might have simply been prevented.”
Navy cornerback Jamal Glenn was ejected for focusing on within the second quarter, which did not assist issues towards Mordecai and the SMU offense.
It wasn’t simple, however SMU got here away with the win on the street, and now the Mustangs have an opportunity to maintain shifting up within the ballot.
SMU: The Mustangs are off subsequent weekend earlier than an Oct. 21 dwelling recreation towards Tulane.
Navy: The Midshipmen have a brief week. They play at Memphis on Thursday evening.