SMU earns date in AAC title game but starting QB Stone injured in 59-14 rout of Navy

DALLAS (AP) — Preston Stone threw three touchdown passes before suffering an injury in the second quarter and SMU cruised over Navy 59-14 on Saturday to advance to the American Athletic Conference championship game.

Stone had already thrown for 322 yards on 14-of-19 passing when he went down awkwardly while being sacked with six minutes left in the first half. He was helped off the field then taken by cart to the dressing room.

SMU (10-2, 8-0) will travel to New Orleans to play No. 18 Tulane next Saturday. After Stone, redshirt freshman Kevin Jennings is the backup followed by Iowa transfer Alex Padilla. Jennings took over for Stone and Padilla also saw action as did fourth-stringer freshman Keldric Luster.

Tyler Lavine rushed for three touchdowns, Kelvontay Dixon had 125 yards receiving and two touchdowns on four catches and Isaiah Iwokobia had a 74-yard pick-6 in the third quarter for SMU’s final points.

All three of Stone’s touchdown passes came in the first quarter when he threw for 275 yards, the most in a quarter by an FBS quarterback this season, and the Mustangs went out in front 28-0 on their way to a 52-14 halftime lead, their third 40-point half of the season.

Navy (4-4, 5-6) scored on Daba Fofana’s run in the final minute of the quarter after Eli Neidenreich recovered a muffed punt at the 1. In the first minute of the second quarter, long snapper Will Benton recovered a muffed Navy punt in the end zone. The punt went through the returner’s legs but contacted his towel tucked into the back of his pants.

SMU scored on seven of its eight first-half drives. Navy had five three-and-outs in the half, gaining zero net yardage on those possessions. SMU outgained Navy in the first half 452-139.

For the game, SMU had 487 yards offense, playing conservatively in the second half. Navy finished with 253. Braxton Woodson threw for 71 yards with an interception and ran for 104 yards on 18 carries with a score for the Midshipmen.

Navy will play Army on Dec. 9 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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