Dallas, Texas—SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai threw for 336 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 74 yards and a score to lead the Mustangs (3-3, 1-1 in the American Athletic Conference) to a 40-34 victory over Navy (2-4, 2-2 in the AAC) in front of 24,583 fans at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.
Navy quarterback Tai Lavatai rushed for a career-high 120 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries while completing nine of his 21 pass attempts for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Navy lost despite outgaining SMU 510-441 and running 101 plays to SMU’s 48.
“I am disappointed in how we played today,” said Niumatalolo. “We made way too many mistakes, and we can’t do that and expect to win the game.”
It was a low-scoring affair in the first half as SMU took a 13-7 lead into the halftime locker room. Navy cut the lead to six right before the half when Lavatai hit Vincent Terrell Jr. with a 24-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left in half.
Navy took a 14-13 lead on the first drive of the second half as Lavatai led the Mids on a six-play, 75-yard drive and capped it off himself with a 15-yard touchdown run.
The lead, however, would last just two plays as Mordecai broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run to put SMU back up 19-14. The two-point conversion failed.
On the next possession, Navy would pick up a huge first down on fourth and one from its own 25 when Lavatai picked up exactly one yard on a quarterback sneak, but two plays later, Anton Hall lost a fumble that Nick Roberts recovered at the Navy 26.
Six plays later, TJ McDaniel scored from the one, and SMU had a two-score lead at 26-14.
After a Navy punt, SMU would score in just two plays as Mordecai threw passes of 47 and 33 yards, the latter to Jordan Kerley for a touchdown to score 33-14.
As you would expect, Navy did not quit. Lavatai led Navy on two touchdown drives of 75 yards and a third of 80 yards in the fourth quarter, but a 27-yard Mordecai to Roderick Daniels Jr. touchdown pass with 8:28 left in the game provided the final margin.
Navy slotback Maquel Haywood finished with 95 yards rushing on eight carries, while Daba Fofana carried the ball 21 times for 61 yards. Jayden Umbarger led the Mids in receiving with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.
Navy will be back in action next Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium when Houston (3-3, 1-1) comes to town for a 12 noon game on ESPNU.