Navy looks to keep offense rolling vs. SMU

After Navy’s offense turned in its best outing of the season, the Midshipmen still have time to turn their season around, with the next game coming Friday in Dallas against slumping SMU.

Navy (2-3, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) destroyed Tulsa 53-21. The Midshipmen had scored 53 points all season before doubling that total in Saturday’s outburst.

Senior fullback Daba Fofana had a banner day, running for career highs of 159 yards and three touchdowns, scoring all three in the second quarter.

“It always starts with our fullback,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “Obviously, too, when the fullback gets going, that also means your line’s playing well. Our offensive line did some good things and Daba and Logan (Point), they ran hard inside.”

Nathan Kent added a 70-yard rushing touchdown on a reverse, Vincent Terrell Jr. contributed 93 rushing yards and a score on 17 attempts and quarterback Tai Lavatai caught a 26-yard touchdown from Kai Puailoa-Rojas on a trick play.

Navy began the season with a home loss to FCS opponent Delaware. Winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is out of the question now, too, after losing to Air Force on Oct. 1. But the Midshipmen are still in the running in the American after picking up their second win.

Their next test is a trip to SMU (2-3, 0-1), which hasn’t played since dropping its third straight game on Oct. 5, 41-19 to UCF. The game was pushed back from Oct. 1 due to Hurricane Ian’s path through Florida.

The Mustangs led 13-10 at halftime before yielding 31 points in the second half. Veteran SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai threw for 295 yards and an interception on 28-for-45 passing. Redshirt freshman Preston Stone took over for the final two drives and completed 5 of 9 throws for 68 yards, adding a rushing touchdown.

While SMU coach Rhett Lashlee insisted that “I believe in Preston,” he said the loss can’t be blamed on Mordecai.

“Tanner fought his tail off,” Lashlee said postgame. “We dropped a touchdown pass that he scrambles to our back. I don’t know how many other balls we dropped. … He was playing beat up and I think he gave us everything he had and I thought he played pretty well. But, it was good to get Preston in there, and every bit of experience he gets is important.”

SMU leads the AAC in total offense (500.2 yards per game) and has the third-best scoring offense in the league (34.6 points per game).

Navy leads the all-time series 13-10, but SMU has won the past two meetings and three of the last four.

–Field Level Media