Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, October 9, 2021
Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: SMU -14
BetMGM: SMU -14.5
Caesars: SMU -14.5
No. 24 SMU: 5-0 (1-0 AAC)
Navy: 1-3 (1-1 AAC)
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SMU - Navy preview and analysis
SMU: won 41-17 vs. South Florida on Oct. 2
Navy: won 34-30 vs. Central Florida on Oct. 2
We've reached that time of year when the SMU Mustangs are exciting folks to the point that they could make things intriguing come later this year.
That potential AAC Championship game with the Cincinnati Bearcats will have to wait. But here comes No. 24 SMU with a road meeting against the Navy Midshipmen in what has the makings of a trap matchup on Saturday.
Southern Methodist is 5-0 after a 24-point victory over the South Florida Bulls. Tanner Mordecai had yet another strong performance with 287 yards and four touchdowns, two of them coming in the first half as SMU jumped out to a 17-3 lead. The offense took over in the second half despite USF cutting the lead to 27-17. Mordecai found Danny Gray for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter for the win.
Not bad for a backdoor cover of 21.5.
Gray had seven catches for 74 yards, and running back Tre Siggers had 79 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Outright, this has the makings of an SMU victory over Navy. But the Midshipmen are coming off a surprising upset win over Central Florida after scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Tai Lavatai returned from a two-game absence to accumulate 115 total yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Navy, a run-heavy team, ran for 348 yards and took great advantage after their hard-fought effort against the Houston Cougars two weeks prior, only losing by eight.
SMU has long been known as a program to air it out, and that's no different with Mordecai having thrown 24 touchdowns to six interceptions five games in. The defense has been stellar, as well, averaging only 21.8 points per game and holding opponents to 131.2 rushing yards per game. Navy's pass defense has allowed almost 212 YPG and this is the most dangerous passing attack the Midshipmen have seen to this point.
I feel a letdown from SMU, now ranked once again and going on the road. The Mustangs have taken care of business away from Dallas, most notably an 8-point win at TCU two weeks ago, but I wouldn't be shocked if they're already looking ahead to Cincinnati down the road. We're on a collision course for them to meet for a potential College Football Playoff berth. Don't be shocked to see Navy cover. SMU by 13
SMU is 3-7 against the spread in its last 10 as a road favorite, but is 7-3 straight up in that scenario.
Navy is 4-5 ATS as a home dog in its last nine
Players to watch
SMU: Coach Sonny Dykes has always put together a strong air-raid attack and this season is no different. Rashee Rice had eight catches for 71 yards and a touchdown last week, and Reggie Roberson also added five receptions for 54 yards and a score.
Navy: While Isaac Ruoss will get the bulk of the carries, watch for Carlinos Acie to have another big day. He had 85 yards on just 11 carries against UCF.
Passing: Tanner Mordecai -- 1,569 yards, 24 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Ulysses Bentley IV -- 403 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Danny Gray -- 432 yards, 7 TD
Passing: Xavier Arline -- 109 yards
Rushing: Isaac Ruoss -- 211 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Mychal Cooper -- 128 yards
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