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Last-second field goal propels Navy to 43-40 win over SMU

Nov 11, 2017 10:06PM ● By Jake Russell
By Jake Russell

With losses and injuries piling up, it was important for Navy to change its approach heading into Saturday's regular season home finale against SMU.

That's why coach Ken Niumatalolo pegged sophomore quarterback Malcolm Perry as his starter. The winningest coach in Navy history told the media after the game he made the decision that Perry gave the team the best chance to win during last week's disappointing loss to Temple. In that game, Zach Abey left with an injury and junior Garrett Lewis took over.

Justifying Niumatalolo's decision, Perry ran for four touchdowns on 282 rushing yards, the third most in program history, before spraining his ankle with 2:50 remaining in the contest.

Taking a 34-11 lead into halftime, the Mids squandered many opportunities to put SMU away, allowing the Mustangs to launch a 29-6 rally to tie the game at 40. The Mids controlled the ball for the final 3:32 of the game and meticulously took time off the clock in order to give backup kicker J.R. Osborn a shot at an 18-yard field goal. The sophomore from Nashville delivered as time expired, giving the Mids the 43-40 win on Senior Day. Saturday marked Navy's 15th consecutive Senior Day victory.

Navy (6-3, 4-3 American Athletic Conference) avoided its first four-game losing streak for the first time since 2011.

By securing its sixth win of the season, Navy is now bowl eligible for the 14th time in its last 15 seasons.

The Mids head to South Bend, Indiana to face Notre Dame next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. then travel to take on Houston on Friday, November 24. The blue and gold close out their regular season in Philadelphia against rival Army on Saturday, December 9 at 3 p.m.