Head to head: Navy vs. SMU

Next up for Navy is SMU. GoMids.com compares different critical team areas of Navy and SMU and indicates which team has the edge.

NAVY
EDGE
AREA
SMU
EDGE
COMMENTS
 
Navy rushing offense
vs.
SMU rushing defense
 
Last week the Midshipmen had the 10th best rushing day in school history racking up 471 yards against Rice. The question now is, was this an aberration against a very bad defense or is the Navy triple option running with the efficiency of years past. The Mustangs' rushing defense has been good but not great ranking 74th in the country giving up an average of 146.6 yards per game. Middle linebacker Chase Kennemer (6-0, 215, SR) has had back to back double digit tackle games with 18 against TCU and 14 against East Carolina.  
 
Navy passing offense
vs.
SMU passing defense
 
The Midshipmen may have to attempt a pass this year against the Mustangs. Last season in a pouring rain Navy ran 77 plays without a pass attempt. The last two weeks Dobbs has attempted only 7 passes. SMU has 13 interceptions in 5 games. Safety Rock Dennis (5-9, 180, SR) has 4 of those interceptions.  
 
SMU rushing offense
vs.
Navy rushing defense
 
The Mustang running attack has been non-existent the last two weeks. SMU finished with 16 yards against TCU and 28 yards against East Carolina. In contrast the Midshipmen have been impressive the last two weeks keeping Air Force 136 yards below their season rushing average and Rice to 21 total rushing yards.  
 
SMU passing offense
vs.
Navy passing defense
 
The Mustangs are starting to execute head coach June Jones offense. They average 297 yards per game through the air. Bo Levi Mitchell (6-1, 202, SO) is clicking completing 57.9% of his passes (125 of 216) with 1,485 yards and 10 touchdowns. He does have 10 interceptions. The Navy pass defense looked impressive against Rice, but they have struggled at times this season.  
EVEN
Special Teams
EVEN  
SMU have struggled in coverage as evidence by their ranking in net punting (100 of 120). But they have excelled in the return game. Corner back Bryan McCann (6-0, 173, SR) is averaging 25.3 yards per kickoff return while receiver Emmanuel Sanders (5-11, 180, SR) is averaging an astonishing 26 yards per punt return. The Navy special teams have steadily improved throughout this season.  
 
Coaching
 
June Jones is 4-13 in his second season with the Mustangs, but he was 76-41 at Hawaii including a trip to the BCS. Coach Ken Niumatalolo improved his record to 12-8 with an impressive 63-14 beat down last week in Houston.  
 
Intangibles
 
The Midshipmen put together their best game of the season lest week. The coaching staff will need to keep the emotions in check as the Mustangs present a difficult challenge. SMU will air the ball out in Coach Jones "Run and Shoot" offense. But SMU has a trip to Houston next week and may be looking ahead to big conference showdown instead of focusing on the Mids.  


PREDICTION: Navy 31, SMU 28

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