BY: Richard W. Humphrey
The Navy Midshipmen kicked a field goal as time ran out Saturday to beat SMU 43-40. SMU played their worst half of football in the first half to fall behind 34-11; but they stormed back into the game with three third quarter touchdowns to get within eight points at 40-32. They finally tied the game with 3:32 left in regulation and appeared headed for overtime, before Navy drove 78 yards to the SMU one yard line to set up the game winning kick.
Both teams are 3-3 in conference play. The third conference loss eliminates the Mustangs’ chances of winning the West Division and advancing the the Conference Championship game. SMU fell to 6-4 for the season, while Navy gained bowl eligibility with their sixth win overall against three losses.
The Ponies simply could not stop Navy’s running game. The Midshipmen tallied 559 yards of total offense, all of which was rushing yardage. They threw just one pass which was intercepted. Navy averaged 7.8 yards per carry. With all the running plays, Navy dominated the time of possession 38:23 to 21:37.
Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry did the lion’s share of the damage. He ran the ball 33 times for 286 net yards and scored four touchdownS. Running back Anthony Gargiulo also set a career high of 145 rushing yards on 15 carries.
Navy scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and three more in the second. SMU answered with one touchdown, after which the extra point was missed, one field goal, and a run back of a blocked extra point attempt by Navy that put two points on the board. The Mustangs’ effort was lackluster at best, and Head Coach Chad Morris was reportedly furious with his team and let them know at halftime.
SMU took the second half kickoff and drove 77 yards in nine plays for a touchdown. It took just six plays to drive 70 yards for a touchdown on their second possession of the quarter. Navy answered with a 60 yard TD drive, but SMU finished off the quarter with another touchdown on their last possession of the quarter. It was game on at 40-32 heading to the fourth quarter.
SMU finally tied the game with 3:32 left. Courtland Sutton scored the touchdown on a 29 yard pass, and Trey Quinn caught the pass for the two-point conversion.
Offensively, the Mustangs rushed for 165 net yards with Xavier Jones leading the way with 106 yards. Jones scored the Mustangs’ only rushing touchdown of the day. Ben Hicks completed 16 of 29 passes (55%) for 361 yards. Courtland Sutton led the receiving corps with seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Trey Quinn and James Proche also caught touchdown passes.
The Mustangs’ schedule only gets tougher next week. They travel to Memphis for an 11:00 AM (Central) kickoff against the Tigers, who are ranked 18th and 17th in the two major polls this week. ESPN News will televise the game.
* Sad to report the passing of Coach George McMillion last Tuesday from natural causes. Coach Mac won seven individual championships and two Southwest Conference Swimming Championships (1953 & 1954) as a student-athlete at SMU. He was Red Barr’s assistant swimmiing coach for 14 years and took over SMU’s program when Barr retired. SMU swim teams finished in the top 10 in the nation in 14 of the 17 seasons he was head coach. He was inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014. SMU’s new natatorium is named in remembrance of him – the Barr-McMillion Natatorium.
* Offensive Records: Ben Hicks now ranks second in SMU history with 43 touchdown passes. His 5,779 career pasing yards rank sixth, and 452 completions are fifth. Courtland Sutton passed the 3,000 yard mark in receiving yardage with 3,010, which is third in SMU history. He has at least one reception in 34 consecutive games.
* The SMU Men’s basketball team opened the season 2-0 this weekend with wins over the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Louisiana – Monroe. Junior Shake Milton scored 52 points and was named American Athletic Conference Player of the Week. Freshman Ethan Chargois scored 38 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and was named AAC Rookie of the Week.
*. The SMU Men’s soccer team beat Central Florida Sunday 2-1 in overtime to win the AAC post-season conference tournament and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
* The SMU Equestrian team is up to fourth in the nation with a perfect 5-0 record after winning the Crown Materson’s Farm Invitational Championship.