Saturday, September 11, 2010

Navy Outlasts Georgia Southern

Trevor Replogle
Mid-Atlantic Sports

Coming into Saturday afternoon’s contest with Georgia Southern, the Navy football team was ready to put last Monday’s 17-14 upset to Maryland behind them. What most people didn’t expect was that they would be in a dogfight against an FCS opponent like the Eagles.

Georgia Southern’s football team is led by new head coach Jeff Monken, a disciple of Paul Johnson and his option offense. Monken and his Eagles used that knowledge against Navy and took the game to the wire before falling 13-7 in front of 33,391 fans and a CBS College Sports television audience.

Georgia Southern won the coin toss, but in Navy fashion, deferred to the second half. Alexander Teich took the kickoff, found a seam, and returned the ball 55 yards to the Georgia Southern 36 yard line. Over the next 6:44, Navy proceeded to run 10 plays and gained only 35 yards and settled for an 18-yard FG by Joe Buckley on a 4th and goal from the 1 yard line.

Niumatalolo was asked whether he considered going for the TD after getting stuffed in a similar situation against Maryland that ended Navy’s chances at getting the win.

“I did consider it, but I wanted to have something positive come out of that opening drive,” said Niumatalolo.

Buckley connected on a 42 yarder to give Navy the 6-0 lead with 2:07 remaining in the first quarter.

With the Eagles gaining more confidence as the game went on, Georgia Southern attempted a fake punt on a fourth and five from their own 39. They direct snapped the ball to upman Tobi Akinniranye, but the play was busted up by John Howell after just a one yard gain.

Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs completed a twelve yard pass to Aaron Santiago and carried the ball 5 times and 18 yards including a one yard TD plunge to give the Mids a 13-0 lead.

Buddy Green’s defense held Georgia Southern’s option offense to just 2 first downs and 23 total yards in the first half.

Niumatalolo was also pleased with the defense’s performance.

“It was a great job by our defense. It wasn’t just the guys getting tackles, it was all who forced the ball to someone else.”

Similarly to Navy’s opening drive of the first half, Georgia Southern found success in the second. Laron Scott took the kickoff 49 yards into Navy territory and set up the offense to cut into Navy’s lead. Robert Brown and Jaybo Shaw were the workhorses of the drive. Brown carried five times for 24 yards and Shaw tossed a 17 yard touchdown drive to J.J. Wilcox to cut Navy’s lead to 6.

Neither team was able score and the game ended in Navy’s favor 13-7. Both teams records are even at 1-1.

Navy travels to Louisiana Tech next week and Georgia Southern travels to Coastal Carolina.

No comments: