What Happened On Saturday Night?

In Saturday night's inaugural battle for the Gansz Trophy, SMU squandered a first half lead, losing in overtime to the run happy Navy, 38-35. Here's a quick look at what was working for the Mustangs, and what fell short.

In Saturday night's inaugural battle for the Gansz Trophy, SMU squandered a first half lead, losing in overtime to the run happy Navy, 38-35. Here's a quick look at what was working for the Mustangs, and what fell short.



GOOD:

Bo Levi Mitchell- Mitchell had no interceptions for the second game in a row. His eight in the first four games had left the SMU offense a little snake bitten, but Mitchell is showing a stronger comfort behind center with each passing week. Mitchell also avoided getting sacked. That, and no fumbles for the offense, airs a level of discipline that most were questioning if the sophomore had.

Shawnbrey McNeal- McNeal rushed for an aggressive 131 yards on just 15 carries for an astounding 8.7 yards a carry. Navy's defense was forced into a loose confusion. Trying to protect the open field from a deep pass that would be expected from a June Jones offense kept the Midshipman box scarce, allowing McNeal to show off his ability to shed tacklers and scramble for ten yard runs. Although McNeal had no touchdowns, Zach Line did rush for two, both in goal line scenarios.

First Half Defense- Navy doesn't pass the ball, ever. They don't even try to hide it. They are a rush intensive team who looked to punch SMU in the mouth early. At halftime, they had only rushed for 86 yards on 26 carries, which equated to only seven points. With the help of McNeal, SMU actually had more yards on the ground than the Midshipmen. Navy was forced to punt three times, were stuffed on a failed fourth and 1 conversion, and fumbled a ball inside their own ten yard line, which was recovered by the Mustangs for their third touchdown of the game.



BAD:

Third down conversions- The Mustangs went only 2 for 11 in third down conversions. With a large amount of big plays not panning out, SMU was left in desperation several times with third and long situations. SMU only went 2 for ten last week against ECU, and did not convert their first third down until the fourth quarter against Navy.

The Deep Ball- Although Mitchell is playing smarter; he is also playing remarkably more conservative. They can't all be 96 yards like the prior week's record breaking pass across field, but Mitchell's longest completion was only 23 yards. This offense depends, in the long run, on Mitchell's deep ball threat. Without the deep attack, defenses can play closer to McNeal, which starts a domino effect through the offense and putting a halt on necessary production.

Missed INT- When SMU played Navy last season, Navy did not throw the ball. Based on that fact alone, it would be easy to assume that the Mustangs defense, who led the nation in interceptions coming into the game with 13, would not get a chance to make a game changing play of that caliber against Navy. In the middle of the third quarter, with Navy still down by seven, Midshipmen QB Ricky Dobbs threw a loft pass over to Vince Murray which fell right into the hands of a swooning Ja'Gared Davis. If caught, Davis was wide open for a touchdown. But the ball fell, allowing Navy to attempt a tie once again. Navy ran the ball for the next four plays, ending in a touchdown for a 21-21 tie. That dropped interception basically equated into a 14 point swing in Navy's favor.



UGLY:

SMU in Overtime- SMU was unproductive once again in OT. Although their offensive possession did not end as horribly as the interception thrown by Mitchell in the OT against Washington State, it did total out losing one yard and a missed field goal. This is SMU's second overtime loss this season. They have lossed six overtime games in a row, and have an overall OT record of just 1-10.


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