The Navy Midshipmen are so well-coached and so disciplined that strange things tend to happen. When the Middies are at the top of their game, they can out-play top-10 ranked opponents and then simply drain the clock for the win. When they’re not playing so well, they’re like an average mid-major team.
Both extremes have been exhibited this season. Navy began the year by whipping Lane Kiffin’s Florida Atlantic squad 42-19, then won their next 4 in a row – including an emotional comeback win over Air Force.
Since then it’s been a penalty here, a blown-coverage there, a QB injury and a handful of turnovers…and a 3-game losing streak. When the Mids lose their trademark execution, there’s no exceptional talent to fall back on.
Saturday’s visiting opponent SMU may be headed in the opposite direction. The Mustangs appeared to live off a soft schedule earlier in ’17. But in the last 3 weeks, the Mustangs have proven themselves as a contender in the AAC West division, winning a pair of tough games over Cincy and Tulsa and fighting hard in a 31-24 loss to talented UCF.
However, odds-makers still like the Midshipmen to rebound at home.
Who: SMU Mustangs at Navy Midshipmen
When: Saturday, November 11th, 3:30 PM EST
Where: Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Lines: SMU (+4) at Navy (-4) / O/U Total: (53)
As the QB goes, so do the Middies, and starter Zach Abey has been beaten to a pulp this season. His status is up in the air as Navy prepares to host the Mustangs.
Backup Garret Lewis is a talented junior, but has yet to prove himself running the ball. If he gets the start on Saturday, it’s hard to imagine the Midshipmen controlling the game on the ground as they like to.
Southern Methodist has no such issues at the most important position. Sophomore Ben Lewis has passed for 2500+ yards and 20 touchdowns with only 6 interceptions. While the Mustang defense has been porous against high-powered offenses, they play better when Lewis and company give them a lead to protect.
I’m liking SMU to go into halftime leading, and come out with a close win. The Mustangs are an excellent bet ATS or straight-up on the ML.