SMU’s defense leads them to a 31-24 win at Navy

In the offseason SMU hired Jim Leavitt as their defensive coordinator. This hire has paid dividends as the Mustangs are 6-0 and ranked 24th entering the weekend. Yesterday in Annapolis they held Navy to 177 yards rushing and 241 total yards. The defensive line owned an inconsistent Navy offensive line for most of the game. They had 8 tackles for loss and numerous plays resulting in no gain or minimal yards.

The momentum changed for good in the second quarter. Linebacker Diego Fagot returned an SMU fumble for a TD that gave the Midshipmen a 21-7 lead. The ensuing kickoff was returned 95 yards for a TD to immediately cut the lead back to 21-14. Navy goes three and out on their next drive and SMU scores to erase a two TD deficit in under 5 minutes. SMU took a 31-24 lead with 8:19 left in the game. Navy had two possessions to tie it up but couldn’t put a drive together.

SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai was 30 of 40 for 324 yards with 2 TD’s and an interception. His touchdown passes were a 65 yard strike to Reggie Roberson Jr on 4th down early in the game and a great pass to Jordan Kerley for a 22 yard TD that put them ahead for good. Shane Hailey had 12 tackles for the SMU defense.

Johnny Hodges was the star for Navy. He had 14 tackles and an interception in the end zone to stop an SMU drive. Tai Lavatai had 24 carries for 70 yards plus he was 4 of 7 for 64 yards through the air. Kai Puailoa-Rojas had a 37 yard TD reception on a flea flicker.

The Midshipmen (1-4) have a short week ahead. They head to Memphis for a Thursday night game at 7:30 on ESPN. The Tigers are 3-3 and have lost three straight including a 35-29 loss at Tulsa last night.

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