Date: Friday, October 14, 2022
Time: 7:30 PM ET, 6:30 PM CT
Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium - Dallas, Texas
ESPN FPI: SMU 85.7%
Betting Line: SMU -12.5*, O/U 57*
Series History: This will be the 24th all-time meeting between Navy and SMU. Navy leads the all-time series 13-10, but SMU has won the last two meetings.
*Odds/lines subject to change. T&C’s apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details
Since Navy’s move to the AAC, contests against SMU have been pretty entertaining. Since 2009, the two have been playing for the Gansz Trophy, named in honor of former Naval Academy player Frank Gansz who spent time coaching at both Navy and SMU.
This year, SMU’s offense is averaging 500 yards per game. That has been behind the leadership of new head coach Rhett Lashlee and AAC passing yards per game leader QB Tanner Mordecai.
Despite Mordecai’s accolades, SMU brings a three-game losing streak into Friday’s game. Most recently, they were handled by UCF in Orlando by a score of 41-19. Lashlee seems to know that his team is in for another tough battle this week that will demand efficiency from his offense
“They hit, they tackle, so we have to match that intensity on offense,” Lashlee told the media at practice this week. “We’re expecting a really really physical game....You’ve got to be real efficient. Their goal is to give you two possessions a quarter, eight possessions a game, and we’re used to having 13 or 14. That’s a big deal.”
For Navy, it’s been an inconsistent start to the year. While they lost their first two games, plus a later contest against Air Force, they did pick up a close win against East Carolina and blew out Tulsa last week. Even with that 53-point performance, Navy has the second-worst scoring offense in the AAC with 21.2 points per game. That being said, Navy and Temple are the only two AAC teams to not have played at least six games so far.
While the Mids defend the run well (86.8 rushing yards allowed per game, ninth in FBS), defending the pass has been an issue. They’re allowing 262.2 yards per game through the air. While their secondary is clearly struggling, the Navy front seven is putting significant pressure on opposing quarterbacks with 14 sacks through five games. That adds an extra wrinkle for Tanner Mordecai and the SMU offense, who have allowed 12 sacks this year.
Once again, Navy’s success will be determined by their ability to keep an opponent’s offense off of the field, with SMU being a top ten team in terms of total plays run this year. Lashlee seems to expect that and doesn’t want to get his team into a situation of feeling the pressure of playing from behind.
SMU’s high-powered offense should have enough to build a lead that Navy won’t overcome. 31-14 Mustangs