ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A wild game between Navy and SMU appeared headed for overtime until one final mistake by the Mustangs proved too much to overcome.
An interception by Tyler Simmons set up a tiebreaking touchdown run by Alexander Teich with 1:38 left, and Navy scored all its points after halftime in a 28-21 victory Saturday.
The Midshipmen (4-2) turned a 14-point deficit into a 21-14 lead before SMU (3-2) pulled even with 2:51 to go. The Mustangs then forced a punt, and that's when things turned Navy's way.
A personal foul call against SMU brought the ball back to the 11, and Kyle Padron's first-down pass was picked off by Simmons with 1:50 left.
"We had a stupid penalty at the end of the game that put us in a hole," SMU coach June Jones said. "It's just too bad. I might not have called that play if we had the ball at the 35 instead of the 10."
After Teich ran 9 yards to the 4, Jones told his defense to step aside and let Navy score so the Mustangs could get the ball back, and Teich cruised in from the 4 with the winning touchdown.
"That's the first time I ever said that," Jones said, "but I felt that was the thing to do."
SMU got as far as the Navy 41 before trying a hook-and-ladder play that got to the 25 as time ran out.
Padron went 28-for-42 for 254 yards and three touchdowns, but he lost a fumble and threw an interception -- turnovers that Navy converted into touchdowns.
After taking a 14-0 lead with 10 minutes left in the second quarter, SMU ended up losing its 20th consecutive nonconference road game, a streak that began after a win against Navy in 1998.
Darius Johnson had 12 catches for 104 yards for the Mustangs, now 1-7 against Navy since 1995.
Jones could have played it safe at the end and took his chances in overtime, but instead instructed Padron to throw with the score tied and less than two minutes left.
"We were trying to win the game," Jones said. "We called that play two or three times before and went to the well too many times."
Teich scored two touchdowns and ran for a career-high 95 yards, and Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs passed for a score and had 62 yards rushing to fuel the comeback.
"This is definitely huge," Dobbs said. "At halftime, our offensive guys had sad looks on their faces. We came out and prevailed."
After Navy scored 21 straight points, the Mustangs moved 57 yards in 10 plays to tie it with 2:51 to go. Padron kept the drive alive by completing a 14-yard pass to Johnson on a fourth-and-4, then hit Aldrick Robinson for a 10-yard score on a third-and-7.
A three-and-out by Navy followed, and seconds later Simmons made his big play.
"The coaches told me what to expect," Simmons said.
Navy mounted its first scoring drive immediately after halftime with the aid of a seldom-used weapon: the forward pass. Facing a third-and-17 at his own 12, Dobbs completed a 51-yard pass to Aaron Santiago. Then, on fourth-and-goal from the 3, Dobbs connected with Santiago in the back of the end zone.
The Midshipmen took a more traditional approach on their next possession, moving 80 yards on nine straight runs to draw even at 14. Wide receiver Greg Jones ran 33 yards on a reverse, and Gee Gee Greene finished with a 1-yard dive.
With the momentum on its side, Navy got a big play from its defense. Pressed out of the pocket, Padron fumbled when hit by linebacker Jerry Hauburger, and defensive end Jabaree Tuani recovered the ball at the SMU 31.
That set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Teich with 12:52 left.
Padron threw for 135 yards and SMU limited the Midshipmen to 124 yards in offense in the first half.
Navy endured a futile opening drive: Soon after Santiago dropped a potential 37-yard touchdown pass in the end zone, Dobbs came up short on a fourth-and-3 run.
SMU then took a 7-0 lead on Padron's 5-yard touchdown pass to Cole Beasley.
After a Navy punt, Padron ran twice for 24 yards and completed four passes for 39 yards, including a 4-yard TD pass to Johnson that made it 14-0.