The Mustangs couldn’t hold onto a lead Saturday against Navy in Annapolis, losing to the Midshipmen 28-21.
SMU (4-3) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead with touchdown passes from Kyle Padron to Cole Beasley and Darius Johnson. But the Mustangs would go over a quarter and a half without putting more points on the board, while Navy (4-2) scored 21 unanswered points.
Again it was turnovers that led to SMU’s demise. The Mustangs lost the season opener in Lubbock by only eight points to Texas Tech after turning the ball over four times. Against Navy the Mustangs turned the ball over three times, and the last one was the dagger.
With the game tied and just under two minutes left in the game SMUI had the ball at its own 11-yard line. On the first play Padron threw a pass intended for Bradley Haynes, but Tyler Simmons intercepted the pass at the 19, and returned it to the 13-yard line. Navy would need just two plays to take a 28-21 lead.
SMU would make a final push, but the drive would end at the Navy 25-yard line after an attempted hook-and-ladder play.
Padron finished the game completing 28 of 42 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns, but the interception at the end of the game would mar his performance. It was Padron’s fourth game with at least three touchdown passes and his fourth game with over 250 yards passing.
Johnson had his second consecutive game of over 100 yards receiving with 104 on 12 catches. Beasley finished the game with 72 yards on nine catches, and Aldrick Robinson was held to just 41 yards on four catches and a touchdown. Zach Line finished the game with 83 yards on 15 carries, while Padron carried the ball eight times for 45 yards.
It wasn’t a clean game played by the Mustangs. SMU was penalized eight times for 76 yards, fumbled the ball three times, lost two, and the interception. The Mustangs also botched a field goal attempt at the end of the first half.
With 14 seconds left the Mustangs lined up to attempt a 43-yard field goal on third and 18. The snap was low and holder Braden Smith couldn’t get it set in time for Matt Szymanski to kick it. Braden was stopped for a seven-yard loss, and on fourth and 25 the Mustangs couldn’t stop the clock to make another attempt.
On the other side of the ball Navy did what Navy does. They ran the ball, worked the clock and wore down defenses. The Midshipmen rushed for 258 yards and three of their four touchdowns were on the ground. They also ate up 32 and a half minutes in possession, over five minutes more than the Mustangs.
Alexander Teich led the Midshipmen with 95 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns, including the game winner. Gee Gee Greene had the other rushing touchdown, and quarterback Ricky Dobbs connected with Aaron Santiago for the other Navy score.
The SMU defense was unable to force any turnovers and only managed two tackles for loss, both by Margus Hunt, against the Navy offense. Taylor Reed led the team with 20 tackles.
The Mustangs will look to regroup this week before facing Houston Saturday for Homecoming, and possibly the right to represent the West in the Conference USA Championship game. Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. at Ford Stadium.
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