The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU falls to Navy in make-or-break game

The+Mustangs+fell+to+the+Midshipmen+in+Annapolis+on+Saturday+afternoon.+Photo+credit%3A+Julia+Depasquale
TerryWolfe
The Mustangs fell to the Midshipmen in Annapolis on Saturday afternoon. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — On fourth down with 4 yards to go, SMU had one final chance to keep their conference championship hopes alive. They failed to convert, closing the door on winning the American Athletic Conference West division and a chance to play in a New Years Six bowl game.

After a strong first half which SMU lead 21-10, the Mustangs were unable to stop the Midshipmen offense. Navy had the ball for nearly 40 minutes of the game, and toppled the defense with 540 total yards.

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Shane Buechele threw for 251 yards against the Midshipmen. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

“I thought they did a really good job of making adjustments in the second half,” said SMU head coach Sonny Dykes. “We did a really terrible job of making adjustments.”

Navy’s defense was able to force several three-and-outs to start the half, which allowed their offense to wear out the Mustangs and wind down the clock. Navy led the nation in rushing yards per game coming into the night, and the Midshipmen were able to run the ball 378 yards against a tired Mustangs defense.

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Xavier Jones recorded 61 yards against the Midshipmen. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

SMU quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 251 yards, one his lowest numbers of the season, and star running back Xavier Jones ran for just 61 yards on 18 attempts. The Mustangs offense also had one turnover.

Meanwhile, Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry shined throughout the game. Perry had 162 passing yards and 195 rushing yards on the night, including a 70 yard touchdown run that gave the Midshipmen the lead with 6 minutes left in the game.

There were several big penalties on the Mustangs, especially at the end of the game. SMU was called offsides with a minute left, which essentially ended the game before the offense got a chance to attempt to score.

“The officials took the game away from the players,” said Dykes.

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SMU was scoreless in the third quarter against Navy. Photo credit: Julia Depasquale

However, there were some bright spots for the Mustangs. Wide receiver CJ Sanders had a 100-yard kickoff return in the first half, tying for the longest run in history at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Freshman wide receiver Rashee Rice also played well for the Mustangs. He had a 61 yard catch for a touchdown, which tied the game in the fourth quarter.

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With one game left in the season, the Mustangs already have four more wins than they did at the end of last season. Though they are likely no longer in the running to win a conference title, their comeback season will continue next weekend against Temple, and in a bowl game in December.

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