Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Navy at Southern Methodist
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 22, 2018
Where: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas

Navy has plenty of room for improvement in all phases of its game, according to coach Ken Niumatalolo, as it visits SMU on Saturday in an American Athletic Conference game. The Midshipmen ran wild for 484 yards in a 51-21 victory over FCS member Lehigh last week but it's the passing attack -- namely behind junior quarterback Malcolm Perry -- that appears to be holding them back.

Perry, who scored three rushing touchdowns last week and has six this season, is 5-for-15 with a TD and an interception as off-season work to improve accuracy and touch hasn't paid off yet. “Teams aren’t stupid. They’re going to see we run the ball a lot. Being able to pass the ball over their heads is a key to being able to run our offense,” Perry admitted. “That’s something I’ve got to work on, for sure.” The Mustangs have been outscored 133-55 in three losses to start the season, including a 42-12 setback versus No. 17 TCU and a 45-20 loss at No. 21 Michigan. SMU coach Sonny Dykes hasn't publicly decided on who will start at quarterback Saturday as freshman William Brown took over from junior Ben Hicks in the second half last week and went 11-of-17 for 82 yards and two touchdown passes.

TV: Noon ET, ESPNews. LINE: Navy -6.5

ABOUT NAVY (2-1, 1-0 AAC): The Midshipmen are No. 2 nationally in rushing offense at 358 yards per game led by Perry, who averages 6.9 yards on 72 carries. Niumatalolo employs three quarterbacks including senior Garret Lewis (10-for-16, 159 yards), who is the best passer, and senior Zach Abey (35 rushing yards, six touchdowns), the goal-line specialist. Senior linebacker Taylor Heflin and junior linebacker Nizaire Cromartie spearhead the defense with two sacks apiece.

ABOUT SMU (0-3, 0-0): The Mustangs are near the bottom nationally in total offense (125th among the 129 FBS teams at 272.3 yards per game) and total defense (103rd, 452.0). Hicks was 37-of-78 for 476 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions prior to his demotion. Junior wide receiver James Proche has team bests of 15.4 yards per 19 receptions and three touchdowns while senior Braeden West (129 yards, two TDs) paces the ground attack.


1. Navy is fifth nationally in time of possession at 36 minutes, 37 seconds while SMU is second-to-last at 22:55.

2. The Midshipmen had a rusher and receiver each total more than 100 yards last week for the first time since 2010 as Perry rushed for 223 yards and sophomore tight end CJ Williams caught three passes for 104 yards.

3. Navy leads the series 12-7 and has won all three meetings since joining the AAC, including 43-40 last season when Perry rushed for 282 yards and four touchdowns.

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Navy 2-1 W2 38.0 33.7 2-0 0-1 0-0 0-0 1-0
Southern Methodist 0-3 L3 18.3 44.3 0-1 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Navy Southern Methodist
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/11/17 SMU 40 NAVY 43 559 559 0 426 165 261
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Navy Z. Abey 0.0 0 0 0
Southern Methodist B. Hicks 55.2 261 4 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Navy M. Perry 33 282 8.5 4
Southern Methodist X. Jones 18 106 5.9 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Navy Z. Abey 0 0 0.0 0
Southern Methodist C. Sutton 7 123 17.6 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Navy M. Perry 4
Southern Methodist C. Sutton 2
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Navy G. Lewis 62.5 159 0 0
Southern Methodist B. Hicks 47.4 476 3 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Navy M. Perry 72 497 6.9 6
Southern Methodist B. West 27 129 4.8 2
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Navy C. Williams 6 148 24.7 0
Southern Methodist J. Proche 19 293 15.4 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Navy Z. Abey 6
Southern Methodist J. Proche 3
Quickchart Matchup
Navy Navy Off vs  Southern Methodist Southern Methodist Def
Navy 452 yards
Southern Methodist 452 yards
Navy 5.8 yards/rush
Southern Methodist 4.1 yards/rush
Navy 8.5 yards/attempt
Southern Methodist 8.7 yards/attempt
Southern Methodist Southern Methodist Off vs  Navy Navy Def
Southern Methodist 272.3 yards
Navy 413.3 yards
Southern Methodist 3 yards/rush
Navy 6.5 yards/rush
Southern Methodist 5.9 yards/attempt
Navy 7.1 yards/attempt