Navy and SMU to Battle for the Gansz Trophy
Slot back Aaron Santiago scored a 3-yard TD in last year's win over SMU.
Nov. 7, 2011
Setting the Stage
Navy and SMU will meet for the 16th time in series history when they square off on Saturday at Gerald J. Ford Stadium (32,000). Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm (ET), 2:30 pm in Dallas. Navy has won four in a row against the Mustangs and seven of the last eight.
Fox Sports Net will air the national broadcast with Ron Thulin (play-by-play), JC Pearson (analyst) and Jeremy Bloom (sideline) calling the action. A list of Fox Sports Net affiliates carrying the game will be available on Wednesday.
The Navy Football Tailgate Show on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM will air at 1:30 pm with Pete Medhurst, Joe Miller and Wylie Baker live from the 1430 WNAV Studios.
The Navy Football Pregame Show with Bob Socci and Omar Nelson will get underway at 2:30 pm (ET), followed by game action at 3:30 pm on the Navy Radio Network and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio (Ch. 91).
Following the contest, Miller and Medurst will recap the day's events in a 60-minute postgame show live on WNAV 1430 AM / 99.9 FM and WFED 1050 AM.
The two programs will battle for the Gansz Trophy, which was established in 2009. Considered perhaps the top special teams coach in the history of the NFL, Frank Gansz spent time at both SMU and the Naval Academy. Gansz was starting his second season as special teams coach at SMU when he passed away on April 27, 2009. As a collegian, Gansz played center and linebacker for the Naval Academy from 1957 to 1959 and graduated in 1960. He also spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Navy (1969-72). In all, Gansz spent 38 seasons coaching - 24 in the NFL and 14 in the collegiate ranks.
The Mids enter Saturday's contest coming off a 42-14 win over Troy on Senior Day. Navy needs to defeat SMU on Saturday, San Jose State on Nov. 19 and Army on Dec. 10 to go to a ninth-straight bowl game.
Navy's six losses this year have come at the hands of South Carolina (7-2), Air Force (5-4), Southern Miss (8-1), Rutgers (6-3), East Carolina (4-5) and Notre Dame (6-3), who have a combined record of 36-18 (.667). Four of the six losses (South Carolina by three, Air Force by one, Rutgers by one and East Carolina by three) have been by a combined eight points.
Seven of Navy's nine opponents to date have a winning record. Navy's opponents are 48-31 (.608) on the year and the Mids have played the 23rd-toughest schedule in the country based on the records of the opposition. Western Kentucky is 5-1 in the Sun Belt and just a half a game behind first-place Arkansas State. South Carolina is 5-2 and just half a game behind Georgia for first place in the SEC East, Southern Miss is in first place and East Carolina is one game behind and in second in the East Division of Conference USA and Rutgers is 3-2 and just one game behind first-place Cincinnati in the Big East.
Navy heads into Saturday's contest with the country's third-best rushing attack, averaging 318.0 yards per game. SMU, meanwhile, is 18th in run defense (106.4 yds/gm). Navy is 13th in turnover magin (+0.8), while SMU is 117th in turnover margin (-1.2).
Nationally, SMU stands 11th in punt returns, averaging 13.1 yards per return. Navy is 99th in net punting, averaging 34.7 yards. SMU is 15th in passing, averaging 296.3 yards per game, while the Mids are 65th in pass defense, allowing 238.0 yards per game.
SMU's Richard Crawford is fifth in the country in punt returns, averaging 14.8 yards per returns. Running back Zach Line is seventh in scoring, averaging 11.3 points per contest and eighth in rushing, averaging 121 yards per game. Wide receiver Cole Beasley is 13th in in receptions per game, averaging 7.3 and 20th in receving yards per game, averaging 93.4 yards per contest. Taylor Thompson is tied for 13th in sacks, averaging 0.8 per game.
Navy has missed at least one kick (PAT or field goal) in seven of its nine games this year, including five-straight contests in the month of October.
The Mustangs enter Saturday's game with a 6-3 record with victories over UTEP, Northwestern State, Memphis, TCU, UCF and Tulane. They have losses against Texas A&M, Southern Miss and Tulsa.
SMU is a dangerous team on offense as it is proficient both on the ground and through the air. Running back Zach Line has rushed for 1,089 yards and 17 touchdowns this year, while quarterback J.J. McDermott has completed 191 of his 329 pass attempts for 2,515 yards with 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Cole Beasley has caught 58 passes for 747 yards and one touchdown.
The defense has been outstanding for the Mustangs, ranking 18th nationally against the run (106.4), 35th in total defense (346.3) and 44th in scoring defense (23.2)
Taylor Reed leads the SMU defense with 60 tackles, five tackles for a loss and three sacks, while Ryan Smith has been in on 53 tackles and has broken up three passes. Ja'Gared Davis has 52 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks, has broken up six passes and picked off two passes. Margus Hunt has blocked four kicks.
The Last Time ...
Navy 28, SMU 21 Oct. 16, 2010 | Annapolis, Md.
Navy rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to stun SMU (4-3), 28-21, in front of 33,924 fans at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It marked the second year in a row that Navy came from 14 points behind to beat the Mustangs.
The Mids cut SMU's lead to 14-7 on their first drive of the second half when senior quarterback Ricky Dobbs hit junior slot back Aaron Santiago with a three-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-goal play. The two had hooked up earlier in the drive when Dobbs hit Santiago down the middle for 51 yards to get the third out of a third-and-17 hole.
After the defense forced a punt, the Mids tied the game at 14 on sophomore Gee Gee Greene's one-yard touchdown run. Senior wide receiver Greg Jones had the big play on the drive, running for 33 yards on a reverse.
The Navy defense rose to the occasion again as senior outside linebacker Jerry Hauburger hit SMU quarterback Kyle Padron, forcing a fumble that junior defensive end Jabaree Tuani recovered at the SMU 31.
Five plays later, Navy had the lead as junior fullback Alexander Teich scored from the two to give Navy a 21-14 advantage.
SMU, however, would tie it at 21 on a 10-play, 57-yard drive that was capped by Padron hitting Aldrick Robinson with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone with 2:51 remaining.
After Navy went three-and-out, SMU got the ball back at its own 11 with 1:55 remaining. On the first play from scrimmage, senior linebacker Tyler Simmons stepped in front of a Padron pass for an interception at the SMU 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Teich scored from the four to give Navy a 28-21 lead.
SMU was able to move the ball to the Navy 41-yard line in the final seconds, but senior corner Kevin Edwards recovered a Bryce Tennison fumble on the final play to give the Mids their fourth victory in the last five games.
Teich led the Mids with a career-high 95 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Dobbs rushed for 62 yards on 19 carries and Greene had 48 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.
Dobbs completed six of his nine passes for 84 yards and one touchdown. Santiago had two catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Hauburger and junior outside linebacker Aaron McCauley led the defense with eight tackles each. Hauburger had a monster game with three tackles for a loss, a sack and two forced fumbles to go along with his eight stops. McCauley had a tackle for a loss and a pass break-up. Junior linebacker Max Blue added six tackles.
The Eyes Of Texas
Navy has a whopping 20 players from the state of Texas on its roster, which is tied with Florida for the most players among the 25 states represented on Navy's roster.
Those hailing from Texas include: freshman punter Pablo Beltran (Humble), senior linebacker Max Blue (Carrollton), junior offfensive tackle Dallas Butts (Dallas), freshman fullback Noah Copeland (San Antonio, Texas), freshman defensive end Aaron Davis (Pearland), sophomore nose guard Alex Doolittle (Houston), sophomore linebacker Zach Duncavage (League City), junior wide receiver Jonathan Gazaille (Grand Prairie), sophomore defensive end Drew Kinsella (Kingwood), junior wide receiver Tyler Lynch (Irving), freshman nose guard Brice Musgrove (Dallas), senior safety Gary Myers (San Antonio), freshman offensive tackle Nathaniel Otto (Houston), freshman safety AJ Pouncy (Houston), sophomore outside linebacker Collin Renton (The Woodlands), junior slot back Bo Snelson (Pasadena, Texas), sophomore outside linebacker Colten Southworth (Redwater, Texas), sophomore slot back Darius Staten (Carrollton), senior fullback Alexander Teich (Conroe), sophomore corner Jonathan Wev (La Marque, Texas).
Mids Take Six Weeks Of Frustration Out On Troy
Senior quarterback Kriss Proctor, playing with a dislocated left (throwing) elbow, completed four of his six pass attempts for 127 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 37 yards and two touchdowns to lead Navy to a 42-14 rout of Troy in front of a Senior Day crowd of 33,359 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The victory broke a six-game losing streak for the Mids.
Proctor, who only played in the first half, directed Navy to five touchdown drives in seven possessions as the Mids built a 35-0 halftime lead.
The Navy defense, which had been much maligned during the Mids' losing skid, was superb, holding Troy to just 99 yards of total offense in the first half and forcing two turnovers.
Nose guard Jared Marks recorded the first big play of the day on Troy's first possession when he recovered a Corey Robinson fumble on the Navy 24-yard line.
Six plays later, Navy converted the turnover into points as Proctor scored from the one. Earlier in the drive, Proctor hit Brandon Turner for 25 yards on a screen pass on third-and-12 and hit slot back John Howell on the next play for 42 yards down to the Troy 11.
Navy's second touchdown was also set up by the defense as freshman Parrish Gaines stripped Shawn Southward and Collin Sturdivant recovered at the Navy 35-yard line. It was the first-career caused fumble for Gaines and the first-career recovery for Sturdivant.
It took Navy just two plays to move the 65 yards to paydirt with Proctor hitting Gee Gee Greene for 48 yards and a touchdown to cap the drive and the rout was on.
The MIds would score three more times in the second quarter as fullback Alexander Teich scored on a five-yard run off an option pitch from Proctor, Greene scored on a 10-yard run and Proctor scored from five yards out.
Senior slot back Mike Stukel capped the scoring with a one-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Senior slot back Aaron Santiago, who returned from a broken arm earlier than anybody expected including the doctors, showed no rust in his first game since Sept. 10, leading the Mids with 80 yards rushing on six carries.
Teich added 71 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, while sophomore quarterback Trey Miller ran for 57 yards on 11 carries.
The defense was led by junior outside linebacker Tra'ves Bush, who turned in 10 tackles and broke up a pass. Junior corner David Sperry had eight stops, including a tackle for a loss, while Gaines had seven tackles, a tackle for a loss and the forced fumble.
Mids A Different Team With Santiago
Navy is 3-0 this year when senior slot back Aaron Santiago plays and 0-6 when he doesn't. Santiago broke his arm in the second quarter of the Western Kentucky contest and was thought to be lost for the year. Instead, he made it back for Senior Day on Nov. 5 against Troy.
In his three games of action, Santiago has rushed for 155 yards and two touchdowns on just 17 carries (9.1 yards per carry) and caught two passes for 41 yards and one touchdown (20.5 yards per catch).
Navy is averaging 40.7 points per game (122 points in three games) when he plays and 25.8 points (155 points in six games) when he doesn't play.
Navy is averaging 488 yards of total offense in games in which Santiago plays (1,464 yards in three games) and 387.3 yards per game when he doesn't play (2,324 yards in six games.
Youth Is Served
Navy has had 21 different players make their first-career starts this year, including 15 on defense.
Navy had at least one player make their first-career start in each of the first-eight games.
Delaware: Matt Aiken-WR, David Sumrall-OT, Alex Doolittle-NG, Jamel Dobbs-DE, Jarred Shannon-OLB, Matt Brewer-LB, Mason Graham-OLB, Shawn Lynch-FS, David Sperry-CB.
Western Kentucky: Jared Marks-NG, Keegan Wetzel-OLB.
South Carolina: John Howell-SB, Brye French-OLB.
Air Force: Andrew Barker-OT, Wes Henderson-DE.
Southern Miss: Delvin Diggs-FB.
Rutgers: Chris Ferguson-FS.
East Carolina: Josh Dowling-Fitzpatrick-DE, Jonathan Wev-CB.
Notre Dame: Trey Miller-QB, Parrish Gaines-CB
First Half The Key
In Navy's three wins. it has outscored the opposition 81-14 in the first half (33-0 in the first quarter, 48-14 in the second quarter).
In the Mids' six losses, they have been outscored 132-52 in the first half (49-10 in the first quarter, 83-42 in the second quarter).
On the year, Navy has been outscored 146-133 in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Mids have outscored the opposition 148-136 in the second half (including overtime).
The Red Zone
Navy has made 36 trips inside the red zone in its nine games this season, scoring 27 times (.750), including 22 touchdowns (.611).
Navy is tied for 100th in the country in red zone offense.
The Navy defense has allowed 35 red zone scores in 43 opportunities (.814), with 33 of the scores resulting in touchdowns (.767).
The Mids are 56th in the country in red zone defense.
Playing The Nation
Navy's schedule over the last decade has been diverse, as the Mids have played at least one team from every conference in addition to the Independents since 2000.
Big 10: Northwestern, Ohio State
Big 12: Texas Tech, Missouri
ACC: Boston College, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland, NC State, Wake Forest
Big East: Rutgers, Pitt, Connecticut, Temple, Boston College
SEC: Vanderbilt, South Carolina
Conference USA: Tulane, Army, Rice, TCU, Tulsa, East Carolina, SMU, Southern Miss
Sun Belt: Western Kentucky, North Texas, Arkansas State, Troy
WAC: TCU, Rice, SMU, Louisiana Tech, Hawaii, San Jose State
Mountain West: Air Force, New Mexico, Colorado State, Utah, San Diego State
MAC: Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, Toledo, Ball State, Temple, Kent St.
Independents: Army, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Temple
due to conference realignment, teams are listed according to the conferences by which they belonged at the time of the contest.
Navy has 165 players on its football roster who represent 25 states.
The Mids have 20 players that hail from both Florida and Texas. Meanwhile, California (14), North Carolina (14), Georgia (13) and Pennsylvania (13) have also been fertile states for the Midshipmen.