Mustangs face another nationally ranked opponent in Navy

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The SMU Mustangs will play the Navy Midshipmen Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. in Annapolis, Md.

SMU enters the game with a 1-8 record and sits in last place in the American Athletic Conference. The Mustangs are coming off of a 60-40 loss to No. 21 Temple in which they had the ball in a one-possession game with less than five minutes remaining.

The Midshipmen are coming off of a dominant 45-20 win against then No. 13 Memphis. Having improved their record to 7-1, solidified their hold on first place in the AAC West, and moved into the No. 22 spot in the AP Top 25, the Midshipmen have proven that they are a mighty contender in their first year in the conference.

Saturday’s meeting will be the 16th between the two teams. Although Navy holds a 9-7 advantage and has won the last five consecutive meetings, including the latest 24-17 game in 2011, one of the Mustangs’ greatest moments came against the Midshipmen. In 1963, SMU upset Roger Staubach and No. 4 Navy 32-28 on a touchdown drive with less than three minutes left in the game.

Navy runs a unique option offense led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds has only thrown for 516 yards and three touchdowns this season, but has rushed by 791 yards and 13 touchdowns. He enters this game tied with former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball for the most career rushing touchdowns in FBS history, needing only one against SMU to reach 78 and hold the solo record.

The Mustangs have struggled against rushing quarterbacks this season and will need to give Reynolds special attention. The defense will have to stop the run and make tackles in space if they hope to contain Navy.

On the offensive side of the ball, Matt Davis and Courtland Sutton will look to keep doing what they have been doing all season. If SMU can find a way to run the ball more effectively, it may take some pressure off of the team and free Sutton from double coverage.

The winner of the game will receive the Gansz Trophy in honor of Frank Gansz. He was one of the best special teams coaches in NFL history and spent time coaching at both Navy and SMU in his illustrious career. Gansz died in 2009 prior to his second season on the Hilltop.

The game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network Nov. 14.

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