Oct 31, 2020; Dallas, Texas, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs running back Ulysses Bentley IV (26) runs the ball against Navy Midshipmen during the first half at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Flores-USA TODAY Sports

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No. 22 SMU uses big second quarter to beat Navy

A week after playing the bug, No. 22-ranked SMU reversed roles and played the windshield against Navy on Saturday.

The Mustangs unleashed a huge second-quarter outburst and kept plenty of pressure on in the second half on the way to a 51-37 victory in Dallas.

SMU quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 300 yards with an efficient 23-of-28 performance and tossed three touchdown passes to anchor a dominant offensive performance a week after the Mustangs (6-1, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) sputtered in a 42-13 loss to Cincinnati.

Ulysses Bentley IV gave SMU nice balance with 149 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Lavine also reached the end zone twice on the ground.

The Midshipmen (3-4, 3-2) rallied for 20 points in the fourth quarter and wound up with 430 total yards. But they finished with more passing yards (239) than rushing (191), continuing a trend when Navy’s flexbone offense has struggled to click.

The teams exchanged long touchdown drives in the early going, each eating up 5-plus minutes. Trailing 14-7 after the Midshipmen pieced together a second consecutive long scoring drive, SMU’s offense found a groove.

With Buechele in rhythm and Bentley finding inviting holes, the Mustangs churned out drives of 71, 57 and 71 yards to seize control. The defense played a part as well, forcing Navy into a three-and-out and stiffening for a field goal.

Then right before halftime, Gary Wiley pounced on Midshipmen running back Nelson Smith’s fumble at the 18-yard-line. With 1 second on the clock, Chris Naggar trotted onto the field and connected on a 35-yard field goal to cap a second frame when the Mustangs racked up 188 yards and 31 points.

SMU’s offense was even better in the third quarter and matched that yardage output in the period, buoyed by three long drives (80, 86 and 78 yards). Buechele finished off the first two with touchdown passes, hooking up with Austin Upshaw for 42 yards and Rashee Rice for 20. Those two scores pushed the lead to 45-17 and Lavine bolted 48 yards to the end zone two plays into the final period to pad the lead more.

After falling into a 51-17 hole, Navy went into scramble mode and found some success by scoring the final three touchdowns of the game in the fourth quarter to make SMU sweat things out.

Tyger Goslin came in at quarterback and triggered the late surge. He connected with Jamale Carothers on a 62-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline — Navy’s longest play of the night — and engineered two more scoring drives.

When Goslin found Mychal Cooper for a 14-yard score on fourth-and-8 with 2:39 to go, the deficit was down to two touchdowns.

An onside kickoff went out of bounds, though, giving SMU the ball and a chance to run out the clock. Buechele sealed the victory when on fourth-and-7 he flipped a short throw to Kylen Granson, who broke two tackles to pick up eight yards for the first down.

Goslin finished with 123 passing yards and the two touchdowns. Three Navy backs ran for 54 yards or more, led by C.J. Williams with 63.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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