Navy shot down the idea of SMU being a potential trap early on as the Mids moved to 8-1 on the season in ruthless fashion. Senior Day looked to be the perfect opportunity for Keenan Reynolds to break the all-time record for NCAA career rushing touchdowns and this proved to be the case as Reynolds personally destroyed the overmatched Mustangs with four rushing scores to take his career mark to 81. Reynolds now has another of Montee Ball’s records in his sight as the former Wisconsin Badger is clinging on to the record for total touchdowns with 83.
Here is a look back at the keys to a dominant win:
1) Rushing domination - Pass
SMU came into the game ranked 121st in the country against the run, giving up just under 260 yards per game. Things got monumentally worse for the Mustangs on Saturday as Navy rushed for 401 yards as a team on 65 carries at 6.2 yards per carry. The Mids also ran in seven touchdowns on the ground as no less than 13 Navy players carried the ball for positive yardage on the day. Reynolds was the star of the show as he rushed for 137 yards to go with his four touchdowns and potentially start to stir up some (belated) Heisman Trophy buzz. The twin hammers were also effective against an admittedly soft SMU front seven, with Chris Swain (73 yards) and Quentin Ezell (33 yards) sucking in defenders to allow Reynolds and the slot backs to do their damage on the edges.
2) Don’t go behind early - Pass
Navy seemed to be fully aware that they could choke the life out of this game early as the team set about SMU on offense and defense clinically. The game was all but over three minutes into the second quarter when Reynolds put the Mids up 21-0 with a typically dynamic 8-yard touchdown scamper. It was 28-0 before the Mustangs scored their first touchdown of the game late in the first half and Navy did not let SMU get within 20 points for the rest of the game. The fourth quarter was once again owned by the Mids as a collection of starters and reserves got to play out the game while putting up another 21 points in the final fifteen minutes.
3) Sack Matt Davis – Fail
One area the Mids could have been more dominant on Saturday was in the pass rush. Matt Davis had been sacked 34 times in the Mustangs first nine games, but Navy was only able to bring him down twice behind the line of scrimmage. This is about the only complaint that can be levied at the defense though as the unit was once again solid and forced SMU to punt after going three and out on each of its first three offensive possessions. By the time the Mustangs finally got a drive going the Mids were up 21-0 and the game was all but over a contest.