Saturday, October 31, 2020, Ford Stadium, Dallas, Texas, 7:30 p.m. ET
Midshipmen at Mustangs Betting Preview: Midshipmen (+14), Mustangs (-14)
After getting burned for 316 passing yards by Houston’s Clayton Tune in a 37-21 loss to the Cougars last week, the Midshipmen (3-3, 3-1 AAC) now will be up against SMU’s high-tech passing game led by Shane Buechele. Buechele is approaching the 2,000-yard mark passing with 13 touchdown throws.
“It helps when you have a veteran quarterback that is very steady and knows what’s going on,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “He’s very accurate and as good as any quarterback we’ve seen in years.”
Navy has more concerns on the other side of the ball as well. The Middies have averaged only 288.2 yards a game in total offense and managed only 166 yards rushing in their loss to Houston, the fourth time this season they have failed to get over 200 on the ground.
“We have to continue to get better offensively,” Niumatalolo said. “We have to find a way to get better quickly.”
Nelson Smith with 394 yards and Jamale Carothers with 328 lead the rushing attack. Dalen Morris has passed for only 439 yards or 87.8 yards a game in Navy’s ground-oriented Flexbone scheme.
The No. 22 Mustangs (5-1, 2-1 AAC) are expected to be without two key playmakers, receiver Reggie Roberson Jr. and tailback TJ McDaniel, again Saturday. Both were hurt in a win against Memphis on Oct. 3. and did not play last week in the 42-13 loss to Cincinnati.
The Mustangs managed only 290 yards against the Bearcats, their lowest output since 2018 and that riles coach Sonny Dykes.
“I was disappointed with the way that we played,” Dykes said. “We just didn’t do the routine things that we typically do that would’ve given us a chance to be at least in the game.
“I think we have to regroup, and we’re going to have to play better against Navy or the same thing will happen.”
Without Roberson, Shane Buechele, the 2019 All-AAC quarterback, threw for only 216 yards against the Bearcats. He has passed for 1,926 yards and 13 touchdowns for the season.
Season averages for the Mustangs are 517.7 yards a game (11th nationally) and 37.7 points a game.
Midshipmen at Mustangs Betting Pick for October 31, 2020
The Midshipmen have won four of the five meetings with the Mustangs in conference play with the only loss a 31-30 setback to the Mustangs in 2018, the last time the teams played in Dallas. Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo also is 8-1 against the Mustangs, who are coming off a season low 290 yards in total offense.
Midshipmen at Mustangs Betting Pick:
Mustangs 38, Navy 24
Midshipmen at Mustangs Best Bet for October 31, 2020
Navy is scoring just under 20 points a game, but the Mustangs have given up 103 points in their last three outings — wins over Memphis and Tulane (in overtime) and a loss to Cincinnati. Shane Buechele is approaching the 2,000-yard mark passing with 13 touchdown passes against only three interceptions.
Midshipmen at Mustangs Best Bet: OVER 59.5