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Mids run through SMU to win AAC West

Will Worth topped 1,000 yards both rushing and passing against SMU as the Mids clinched the AAC West and a spot in the Conference championship game.

Will Worth topped 1,000 yards both rushing and passing against SMU as the Mids clinched the AAC West and a spot in the Conference championship game.

Two. That’s how many times the Navy football team has punted in the month of November. None of them happened in Navy’s game against SMU. The Mids triple-options was absolutely unstoppable and resulted in a basketball score by the Mids as they beat the Mustangs 75-31. Yes, 75 points; clinching the American Athletic Conference Western Division and a spot in the conference championship game.

Perhaps their two losses will make it impossible to earn a spot in the Cotton Bowl as the ‘Group of Five’ champion without Western Michigan getting upset in the MAC title game, but considering how dominant the 25th-ranked Mids have looked over the past month, they certainly have gotten themselves back in the conversation if they defeat Temple to win the AAC next weekend.

And after Will Worth rushed for 107 yards and three more touchdowns, with 104 passing yards and another score to eclipse the 1,000 yard mark both on the ground and through the air, he may not be in line to become a Heisman finalist like Keenan Reynolds did last year, but perhaps he might sneak a vote or two.

Worth once again ran the triple-option to absolute perfection. Navy rushed for 496 yards and nine touchdowns. The Mids got the ball into the endzone on all but two of their drives. One didn’t result in a touchdown when they fumbled the ball on a kickoff return and the offense never saw the field. The other time was when they too three kneel downs to run out the clock at the end of the game.

It really doesn’t make much sense how a team can stay on the ground and score as fast as Navy does, but the triple-option leads to huge plays and their quick-pace along with the incredible conditioning that a military academy will give a player helps as well.

SMU scored first on their opening possession with Courtland Sutton catching a 19-yard pass from Ben Hicks to give the Mustangs a lead out of the gate.

But Worth ran touchdowns in on Navy’s first two possessions, first a 29-yard run into the endzone to tie the game and then a five-yard touchdown run to give the Mids a 14-7 lead.

SMU kicker Josh Williams booted in a 26-yard field goal to cut into the deficit a little bit, but that was before SMU realized that anything less than a touchdown on a possession would be a waste.

Toneo Gulley caped off a five-play, 75-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run to put the Mids up 21-10.

But the Mustangs were able to score another touchdown when Ben Hicks scored on a two-yard touchdown run. Then SMU took advantage of Navy’s fumble on the ensung kickoff and went 38 yards into the endzone with Hicks tossing a second touchdown pass, this one going to Xavier Castille.

That gave SMU a 24-21 lead in the second quarter, but that would be the last lead they would see.

Navy scored another touchdown on their final drive of the first half with Worth tossing an eight-yard touchdown pass to Jamir Tillman. That gave the Mids a 28-24 lead at halftime and they built on it immediately in the second half.

Out of the break, Shawn White showed off move of Navy’s quick-strike ability with a 50-yard touchdown win. It was only a two-play drive that went 54-yards in just 49 seconds. Just 59 seconds later, Justin Norton picked Hicks off and returned it 26 yards into the endzone and just like that, Navy was ahead 42-24.

And it was far from over.

SMU missed a 38-yard field goal on their ensuing possession, and Navy took the ball 79 yards for another touchdown. Another turnover on downs by SMU gave the Mids the ball on the 39 yard line and one run by Gulley later and Navy was in the endzone again.

Navy led 56-24 at the end of the fourth quarter, but the possession they were on extended through and got into the endzone with a two-yard run by Anthony Gargiulo. Zach Abey added another touchdown soon after with a 46-yard run into the endzone, putting the Mids ahead 68-24.

SMU was able to score one more time when Ke’Mon Freeman darted into the endzone from two yards out, but Kendrick Mouton added one more score for the Mids. SMU just had no way to stop the Mids triple-option ground game.

Navy will host Temple in the AAC championship game on Saturday at noon. Temple won the Eastern Division with a 7-1 conference record and head-to-head victory over South Florida on October.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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