- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

DALLAS (AP) - Will Worth has become a dual threat in Navy’s triple-option offense.

While the Midshipmen still stay mainly on the ground, Worth accounted for four touchdowns while becoming the first Navy quarterback with more than 100 yards rushing and 100 yards passing in three consecutive games in a 75-31 victory at SMU on Saturday.

“That’s been Will. He’s been solid this whole year,” coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “I’m running out of things to say about the kid. Week after week after week he continues to raise up to the challenge and perform well.”

Worth ran 15 times for 107 yards and three touchdowns, increasing his FBS-leading total to 25 rushing scores while playing only three quarters. The senior completed 5 of 7 passes for 104 yards and the go-ahead TD just before halftime.

The Midshipmen (9-2, 7-1, No. 25 CFP), who had already clinched the American Athletic Conference West Division title, will host Temple (9-3, 7-1) in the conference championship game next Saturday.

“This is exactly where we wanted to be. The entire offseason, this is what we worked for,” Worth said. “We feel great, just got to keep things rolling right now.”

SMU (5-7, 3-5) missed a chance to become bowl eligible in its regular-season finale amid rumors coach Chad Morris is a candidate to become Baylor’s new coach. The Mustangs are 7-17 in two seasons under Morris, who took over after a 1-11 season.

“This is not about me, this is about these kids in that locker room in there and moving forward,” Morris said. “I’m the football coach at SMU and I’m extremely excited about the direction of this program.”

Navy has won four games in a row, and has consecutive 60-point games for the first time since 1917.

Temple won 37-10 over East Carolina on Saturday night to match South Florida for the AAC East lead. The Owls advanced to the title game on the head-to-head tiebreaker since they beat USF last month.

After Navy’s first lost fumble in five games led to a touchdown that put SMU up 24-21 late in the first half, the Midshipmen responded with 47 unanswered points.

Worth’s 8-yard TD pass to Jamir Tillman with 6 seconds left in the first half put the Midshipmen ahead to stay. They scored twice in less than a minute right after halftime, on 255-pound fullback Shawn White’s 50-yard run and Justin North’s 25-yard interception return.

“Proud of the way our team’s fighting right now,” Niumatalolo said. “I just feel like we’re still improving as a football team and I like where we’re at this point in the season.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Navy: The Midshipmen, still in contention for a Cotton Bowl berth if they win the AAC title game, had a season-high 496 yards rushing and averaged 10.3 yards per carry, with six players rushing for TDs. It was a record 37th victory for the senior class, which still has three more games to play. They had matched last year’s seniors, who had tied the 36 wins by the Class of 1909.

SMU: While a disappointing way to finish the season, the Mustangs have clearly improved under Morris. They had won three of four, including a win over Houston, before consecutive losses to AAC division leaders. Now they wait to see if Morris stays for a third season.

SOME BIG NUMBERS

Worth tied the program record with his seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing game. … SMU finished the season with a 1,000-yard rusher (Braeden West) and 1,000-yard receiver (Courtland Sutton) for the first time since 2011. … The 496 yards rushing marks the 10th-best total in Navy history, and the Midshipmen had their most points since scoring 76 against East Carolina in 2010. They were over 500 yards rushing before losing 5 yards when kneeling down on three consecutive plays after getting the ball back with 1:30 left.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Midshipmen, who moved to 25th in the College Football Playoff rankings last week, could move back into the AP Top 25 after being unranked the past four weeks. Five teams lost this weekend that were ranked 17th through 25th in the current AP poll, in which Navy was among the top teams in others receiving votes.

UP NEXT

Navy hosts Temple for the AAC championship game next Saturday, then plays Army on Dec. 10 in Baltimore.

___

More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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