Saturday, December 11, 2021

Navy Upsets Army, 17-13

The Army-Navy game is historically a close, hard-fought battle between two rival service academies.  This year's contest was the 122nd time these two schools have faced each other, and was no different.

Navy came into today's contest with a 3-8 record hoping to get a needed win against favored Army.  A win would also prevent the Cadets from winning this year's Commander-in-Chief's trophy.

Army came out of the gate quickly, when QB Christian Anderson put the Cadets on the scoreboard on just the fourth play from scrimmage, with a 56-yard keeper.

The Midshipmen didn't flinch, and sophomore quarterback, Tai Lavatai led Navy on their own scoring drive.  The drive was 11 plays for 83 yards and took 5:38 off the board.  Lavatai called his own number and scored on an 8-yard carry to tie the game, 7-7 with 7:22 left in the first quarter.

On the Navy scoring drive, backup quarterback Xavier Arline pulled a hamstring on a 10-yard carry and would not take another snap in the game.

Army regained the lead on the ensuing drive when Cole Talley connected on a 31-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining in the first quarter.  Anderson led the Cadets with two big passes on the drive, one to Isaiah Alston for 35 yards and one to Cade Barnard for 12 yards.  Anderson would finish the game with 7 completions for 108 yards.

The Navy and Army defenses tightened up and forced punts on the next four drives. 

Navy drove down the field late in the first half looking to tie the game before halftime.  Bijan Nichols missed a 53-yard field goal giving the ball back to Army with under five minutes remaining in the half.

The Cadets moved the ball with two more big passes from Anderson and a Navy personal foul.  The drive stalled at the Navy 15 and Talley hit a 32-yard field goal to give Army a 13-7 lead going into the half.

Navy took the lead in the game on their first drive of the second half.  

Lavatai connected with freshman Maquel Haywood for 24-yard pitch and catch moving the ball into


Army territory.  Later in the drive Navy faced a fourth and four with the ball on the Army 28.  Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo played aggressively and decided to go for the first down instead of attempting a field goal.

Chance Warren't number was called and made a fantastic play on a reverse call.  Warren scrambled down the sideline to the Army 2-yard line.  Lavatai called his own number and scored the go-ahead touchdown with some help from his offensive line.

Navy extended their lead when Nichols connected on a 43-yard field goal, giving Navy a 17-13 lead.

Army got the ball back with 2:56 remaining in the game with a chance to get the win.  The Cadets had the ball in Navy territory facing a fourth and three play.  Navy captain and senior leader, Diego Fagot along with Jacob Busic stuffed Anderson, sealing the win for Navy.

Tai Lavatai completed four passes for 82 yards and carried the ball 20 times for 62 yards and two touchdowns.

Diego Fagot led the defense with nine tackles and two QB hurries.  Fagot also got a carry on mistaken fake punt when he took the unexpected snap and scrambled four yards for a Navy first down.

The Midshipmen finish the year with a 4-8 record.  Army falls to 8-4 and will face Missouri in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 22.


Saturday, October 30, 2021

Midshipmen Earn Second Win Against Tulsa, 20-17

Midway through the second quarter of a scoreless ball game, Tulsa's Anthony Watkins broke free and sprinted 78 yards to what looked like would be a Golden Hurricane touchdown.  Navy's Michael McMorris however, made what turned out to be the play of the game, catching Watkins from behind and tackling the runner on the Navy 7 yard line.  

The Mids defense played tough and held Tulsa to a 26-yard field goal.  The four point difference from McMorris's don't-give-up tackle was the difference in the game.  The Navy Midshipmen earned their second win of the year on the road against Tulsa, 20-17.

"Mikey's play was the play of the game, probably the play of the year," said Navy head coach, Ken Niumatalolo.

Navy and Tulsa battled defensively through the first half and the score was tied 3-3 at the intermission.

Tulsa got the ball to start the second half and Watkins took the Navy kickoff and returned the ball 97 yards for a touchdown giving the Golden Hurricane a 10-3 lead.

On the ensuing drive, the Midshipmen put together a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a one yard TD run by James Harris to even the score, 10-10.

On Navy's next drive, Navy signal caller Tai Lavatai led the Midshipmen on 14-play, 80-yard drive that took over eight minutes off the clock.  Lavatai called his own number and scored from one yard out giving Navy their first lead of the game with 11:24 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Tulsa turned the ball over on downs on their next drive, giving Navy good field position at the Golden Hurricane 48 yard line.  A heavy dose of fullback Isaac Ruoss, Lavatai, and Harris moved the ball to the Tulsa 29 yard line.  Bijan Nichols converted a 48-yard field goal giving Navy a 20-10 lead with 4:14 remaining in the game.

Tulsa started the next drive at their own 35.  Quarterback Davis Brin led Tulsa on a must-score drive completing four passes for 68 yards including a two-yard touchdown pass to Ezra Naylor II.  The 8-play scoring drive left just over two minutes on the clock with Navy holding a 3-point lead.

Navy recovered the onside kick attempt and were able to run out the clock.

Navy ran the ball 60 times for 302 yards in the game and did not complete a pass.  Carlinos Acie led the Mids ground game with 80 yards on just 3 carries.

John Marshall and Diego Fagot led the defense with 8 and 7 tackles respectively.  Marshall also had a fumble recovery.  Rayuan Lane had an interception.

Navy (2-6) travels to South Bend next Saturday to take on Notre Dame.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Navy Falls to #2 Cincinnati, 27-20

Navy lost a heartbreaker to visiting Cincinnati, 27-20.  The Mids played even with the Bearcats throughout the first half, trailing just 13-10 at halftime.  Cincinnati scored 14 points in the third quarter to force Navy out of their game plan by forcing them to play from behind.

Navy didn't disappoint by scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter and converting and onside kick to give the Mids a chance at tying the game with less than a minute remaining.  The Cincinnati defense came up with a clutch INT preserving the win.  

Cincinnati remains undefeated (7-0) and Navy falls to 1-6.  The Midshipmen take on Tulsa on Friday. 

Great Beginning

Cincinnati won the coin toss and elected to receive.  The Navy defense forced a two consecutive three-and-outs.  On the Midshipmen's second drive of the game, they put together a 13 play, 79-yard scoring drive.  Tai Lavatai capped off the drive with a two yard TD run to give Navy the early 7-0 lead.

Ouch!

Following Navy's impressive scoring drive, Cincinnati bounced back with a quick scoring drive of their own.  Following a Navy onside kick attempt, Desmond Ridder completed two consecutive passes, the last one a 31-yard TD pass to Josh Whyle.

No Quit

Not to be outdone, Navy battled back to take the lead after Cincinnati's quick score.  The Midshipmen took over at their own 49 yard line following a Maquel Haywood 48 yard kickoff return.  On the drive, Lavatai connected with Kai Puailoa-Rojas for a 21-yard completion.  The drive stalled at the Bearcats 16 yard line.  Bijan Nichols hit a 33 yard field goal to give Navy the three point lead, 10-7.

Cincinnati Got Hot!

After falling behind to Navy, 10-7, the Bearcats offense caught on fire and scored on four consecutive drives.  They connected on two field goals before halftime to take a 13-10 lead into the intermission.  To start the second half, Cincinnati scored TDs on two consecutive drives.  Jerome Ford found paydirt with a 43 yard run for the first score.  On the next Bearcat drive, Ridder connected again with Whyle for a score, this time from 3 yards out giving Cincinnati a 27-10 lead.

Look out for the injury bug

Two offensive linemen from Navy had to leave the game due to injuries.  Center Darrellson Masaniai went out in the first quarter.  Offensive Tackle Kip Frankland also left the game with an injury in the second quarter.

Never Quit

It goes without saying that Navy football players have a "don't quit" attitude.  Navy showed that this afternoon against #2 Cincinnati.  Navy had fallen behind the Bearcats 27-10 going into the fourth quarter.  Bijan Nichols kicked a 27 yard field goal with 7:34 left in the game cappaing off a 9-play, 48 yard drive, cutting the Cincy lead to two touchdowns.  

The Navy defense continued their scrappy scheme and forced a Cincinnati three-and-out.  The Navy offense drove down the field led by Tai Lavatai.  Lavtai threw nine passes on the drive which is unheard of in the current Navy offense.  Lavatai ended the drive with a one yard TD carry cutting the Cincinnati lead to 27-20 with 0:50 remaining in the game.  

The Navy kickoff team successfully kicked on onside kick and Jamal Glenn recovered the ball on the Navy 47.  The Navy comeback ended on a Lavatai INT with 25 seconds remaining in the game.

Strasemeier's Stat of the game

Scott Strasemeier, Navy's Senior Associate A.D./Sports Information, shared that Cincinnati's 271 yards in today's game were the least they've gained in 19 games going back to 2019.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Navy Hosts #2 Cincinnati

 

Navy plays host to #2 Cincinnati in Annapolis on Saturday. The Bearcats are ranked second in both the AP and Coaches Polls.  The game will kickoff at 12:05 on ESPN2.  

The Bearcats are lead by head coach Luke Fickell.  Fickell is in his 5th season at Cincinnati and holds a 41-14 record.  

The last time Navy faced Cincinnati was in 2018 in Ohio.  The Bearcats trounced Navy 42-0.  That win was the first and only win that Cincinnati has against Navy.  The Midshipmen lead the series contests, 3-1.

Desmond Ridder
Cincinnati comes to Navy as a national powerhouse boasting a 6-0 record.  They are averaging 43.0 points per game which is good for #6 in the country.  Their win margin this season is 29.8 points per game.

The player to watch today for Cincy is senior quarterback, Desmond Ridder.  Ridder comes into the game as a Heisman Trophy candidate throwing for 13 TDs and averaging 238.2 yards per game this season.

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Navy Knocks off the Knights, 34-30

Navy defeated visiting UCF 34-30 to get their first win of the season and their first win against the Knights.  Navy fought back from 17 points down which is their biggest comeback since 2008.  Tai Lavatai scored two touchdowns on runs of 7 and 1 yards and also contributed 58 yards passing to lead the Mids offense who played their best game of the season.  Carlinos Acie led the Navy ground game with 85 yards on 11 carries.  Acie came into today’s game with just 68 yards rushing in his career.

Senior captain, Diego Fagot led the defense with 11 tackles and a forced fumble.  Taylor Robinson had a fumble recovery and an interception in the game, both were the first of his career.

In what Coach Ken Niumatalolo felt was the play of the game, the Mids Michale McMorris blocked a UCF punt that was recovered in the end zone by Daniel Taylor cutting the UCF lead to 20-17.  

“The blocked punt was a momentum changer for us.  If we don’t win special teams, we don’t win the game.  We needed this so bad.  We needed to celebrate.  It’s a great testament to our young men.”

Retiring #48
Navy retired Chet Moeller’s number 48 today.  Moeller is a 1976 graduate of the Naval Academy and just the fifth Midshipmen to have his number retired by Navy.  The Midshipmen have retired numbers 12 (Roger Staubach), 19 (Keenan Reynolds), 27 (Joe Bellino), 30 (Napoleon McCallum) prior to retiring Moeller’s number 48, the first Navy defensive player to receive this honor.

Not the way to start the game
On a third-and-11 play from their own 14 yard line, Carlinos Acie fumbled the ball that was recovered by UCF.  On the Knights’ first play, freshman QB Mikey Keene connected with Brandon Johnson for a 15 yard TD giving UCF a 7-0 lead just 1:36 into the game.

That looks like Navy football
Navy’s ensuing drive following the UCF quick score looked a lot like Navy football that fans in Annapolis are used to.  QB Tai Lavatai led a 16-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a seven yard run by Lavatai on a RPO.  Navy’s drive took 8:15 off the clock.

Turnover Killers
Navy turned the ball over twice deep in their own territory only to have the Knights score touchdowns on the next play following both turnovers. 

Navy Penalties
Coming into today’s game, Navy led the country averaging just 3 penalties and 26.7 yards per game.  Today, on the other hand, the Mids could not maintain their typical discipline on the field and were flagged eight times for 72 yards.

Stat of the game 
Navy has 49 one-possession wins since 2007 which is the most in the nation.  


Next week
Navy hosts SMU next week at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at 3:30.  The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.