Marine Corps - USMC Community - NAVY UPSETS #25

    ANNAPOLS, Md. (AP) --

    Perry found a seam and scampered 70 yards with just over six minutes remaining to break a tie and Navy beat the Mustangs 35-28 on Saturday. It was the culmination of a banner day for Perry, who generated 357 yards of total offense. He finished with 195 yards rushing on 38 carries with two touchdowns and completed 9 of 15 passes for 162 yards and another score.

    ''He actually told me at one time, 'Coach, you have to give me a break, man. Give somebody else the ball,' '' Niumatalolo said. ''I was like, 'Suck it up, we need you.' I didn't realize he carried the ball 38 times. . All I could see was (Perry) in my head. He was going to carry us.''

    At one point in a tight game against No. 21 SMU Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry approached coach Ken Niumatalolo about giving someone else the ball.

    Not a chance.

    The Midshipmen still have a shot at winning the West Division crown of the American Athletic Conference outright should No. 18 Memphis falter in the regular-season finale against No. 17 Cincinnati. The Tigers own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 35-23 victory over Navy on Sept. 26.

    CJ Sanders had a 100-yard kickoff return for SMU (9-2, 5-2), tied for the longest in the 60-year history of Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

    After trailing 21-10 at the half, the Midshipmen (8-2, 6-1) cut into the margin on a 1-yard plunge by Perry and a 25-yard field goal by Bijan Nichols on their first two possessions of the third quarter.

    Navy forced a pair of three-and-outs to help shift the momentum and its deliberate running attack began to wear down SMU's defenders.

    As the Mustangs stacked the box, Perry hit Ryan Mitchell with a 13-yard scoring pass, Mitchell's first career touchdown reception. Navy added a two-point conversion to regain the lead at 28-21 with 14:19 left.

    ''I was getting the ball a lot. I never complain about that,'' Perry said. ''Just seeing what the defense was doing, I thought it would be a good idea to spread it out a little bit. But when it came down to it, the coach called me number and I enjoy it.''

    SMU tied it at 28-all on a 61-yard touchdown pass from Shane Buechele to Rashee Rice.

    After Perry's long run broke the deadlock, the Midshipmen came up with a huge stop on a fourth-and-4 from their own 12 with 2:36 remaining.

    Navy entered the game leading the nation with 349.3 yards rushing per game and finished with another 378 yards on the ground.

    Buechele, a transfer from Texas, was 16 of 28 for 251 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Midshipmen outgained the Mustangs 540 to 344 and dominated time of possession 39:40 to 20:20.

    Last season, SMU edged Navy 31-30 for its first win over the Midshipmen in 20 years. Navy still has a 13-8 edge in the all-time series, which began in 1930.

    ''You have to give Navy credit,'' SMU coach Sonny Dykes said. ''I thought they did a really good job of making adjustments in the second half and we did a really poor job of making adjustments. (Navy) made some plays down the stretch. Malcolm Perry converted on a couple of big third downs in critical situations where he just made plays and we didn't.''


    The Midshipmen went undefeated at home (4-0) in the regular season for the first time since 2016, and they still could host the AAC championship game or perhaps play in the Military Bowl that is held in Annapolis.
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