Perry leads Navy past No. 21 SMU 35-28
By TODD KARPOVICH
ANNAPOLS, Md. (AP) - Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry generated 357 yards of total offense and scored the game-winning touchdown in a 35-28 victory over No. 21 SMU on Saturday.
Perry found a seam and scampered 70 yards with just over six minutes remaining to break a tie. He finished with 195 yards on 38 carries with two touchdowns on the ground and completed 9 of 15 passes for 162 yards and another score.
The Midshipmen still have a shot at the West Division crown of the American Athletic Conference should No. 18 Memphis falter down the stretch. The Tigers own the tiebreaker by virtue of their 35-23 victory over Navy on Sept. 26.
CJ Sanders had a 100-yard kick-off 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.
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 tie, 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.
SMU: The Mustangs are likely out of the running for a conference title, but they have already won four more games than last season.
Navy: The Midshipmen still have a shot at the AAC championship and can win the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy with a victory over Army on Dec. 14.
SMU closes out the regular season Saturday against visiting Tulane.
Navy travels to Houson on Saturday.
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