Start Time: 3:30 PM EST, Saturday, November 14
Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Annapolis, MD
TV: CBS Sports Network (John Sadak, Randy Cross, Sheehan Stanwick-Burch
Radio: Navy: Navy Football Radio Network (Pete Medhurst, Omar Nelson, Joe Miller) WBAL 1090 AM Baltimore; WNAV 1430 AM, 99.9 FM Annapolis; SMU: SMU Radio Network (Rich Phillips, Steve Lansdale) KTCK 1310 AM, 96.7 FM
Records: Navy: 7-1. SMU: 1-8. Navy leads the series 9-7.
Live Stats: here
Line: Navy -21. Over/Under: 61
The Navy Football team returns to Annapolis for their final regular season home game of the year as they host SMU on Senior Day this Saturday at 3:30 PM EST. Navy is coming off a 45-20 upset of a top-15 Memphis squad on the road in which the Midshipmen outscored the Tigers 28-10 after halftime. The Midshipmen were led by fullback Chris Swain who rushed for 108 yards and three touchdowns on the night. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds had a chance to break the all-time rushing touchdown record in front of friends and family with a called QB sneak at the goal line late in the game, but the Navy team captain checked out of the play and into a sweep that Demond Brown took to the end zone to put the game away for good.
This Navy team is now in rarefied air. They still remain undefeated in conference play, and with wins against SMU and Tulsa, they would set up a monumental game against Houston the Friday after Thanksgiving. They are ranked 20th in the latest College Football Playoff committee rankings, the highest Group of 5 team in the rankings, and they are in control of their own destiny at this point for a spot in a New Year's Six bowl game. None of that matters though if they don't go 1-0 this week.
I am confident this is a team that will handle success the right way, but they are playing an SMU team that I believe is much better than their 1-8 record would indicate. They have played a brutal schedule that has included Baylor, TCU, Houston, and Temple so far. Navy is the 5th ranked team SMU has faced this year with Memphis still awaiting them in a couple weeks. They average 30 points a game on offense under first year head coach Chad Morris. Quarterback Matt Davis has played very well at times and wide receiver Courtland Sutton is dangerous in space. Their defense, however, is another story. They are giving up 525 yards per game on defense, including almost 260 per game on the ground.
This is a game that Navy should win, but if they come out of the gate slow and let SMU build a quick lead, all bets are off. Protecting the ball, eating up the clock like they did last week against Memphis,and continuing to be efficient on offense from the get go are all keys to a Navy victory tomorrow. This is a Navy team that currently sits at +12 in turnover margin while SMU is at -5. That could be the deciding factor in this one turning into a rout if the game shifts that way.
Ultimately, the Midshipmen should come out on top in this contest. Keenan Reynolds will more than likely find his way into the end zone in his final regular season home game of his career and set the NCAA rushing TD record in the process, the Navy defense which has given up 21 points or more only once this season should be able to get enough stops and create some turnovers, and the offense should continue to roll in front of the home crowd.
Prediction: Navy 42-SMU 21