The Mids took care of business on Saturday by thumping SMU in Dallas. That win, combined with other results going their way, means that Navy will host Temple in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game in Annapolis this coming weekend.
Here is a look back at how the Mids beat the Mustangs:
1) Play Better Defense – Pass
The Navy defense continued to play as it has over the past month or so and that is both a good and a bad thing. Navy came into this game 76th in the country in scoring defense, giving up over 30 points per game. The Mids did not improve on this number as the gave up 31 points to the Mustangs, though statistically Navy stayed in that same position of 76th nationally in points allowed.
Part of the problem defensively is that Navy is simply in a conference where so many teams play with a wide open, high-tempo spread attack. This means that regardless of how good the Navy defense is, teams are still going to score points. With that in mind, the Mids get a pass here because the defense was outstanding after halftime and especially in the third quarter. Navy was able to get a couple of key stops during this period and the score went from 28-24 to 56-24 over the course of 15 minutes.
2) Pound The Life Out of SMU – Pass
Scoring 66 points last week against ECU seemed like the high water mark for this offense. Navy then went out and just obliterated SMU, scoring 75 points in total and 47 after halftime. The Mids put up 600 yards of total offense and, as expected, the power and precision of the Navy option attack caused SMU to crumble in the second 30 minutes as their tired defense was no match for the quantity and quality of the running backs that Navy was putting on the field.
Navy came into this one rushing for 326 yards per game and having scored 44 rushing touchdowns on the season. Those gaudy numbers were only improved upon as the Will Worth led offense rumbled for an outstanding 496 yards and nine touchdowns on the day. The Mids actually had over 500 yards rushing at one point, before taking knees on the final series to end the game. Worth went for 107 yards and three touchdowns, while slotback Toneo Gulley was frighteningly efficient with 57 yards and two scores on only three carries.
3) Pass Wisely – Pass
Worth became the first Navy quarterback with more than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in three straight games as he continued his evolution into a true dual-threat quarterback in an offensive system that should be almost entirely about the running game. Worth was 5 of 7 for 104 yards through the air and his one touchdown passing was the go-ahead score just before the half that broke the determined resistance of SMU.
The offensive staff did an outstanding job of having the senior quarterback continue to make the right reads and throw the ball at the right time to minimize the chance of interceptions. Worth is contributing to this by mixing up his targets and not focusing on just one receiver throughout the game. One Saturday Worth completed five passes to five different targets, but as always it was Jamir Tillman that he looked to when the Mids needed a passing score.