Monday, September 05, 2016

Navy's Win Over Fordham Bittersweet

Navy faced Patriot League foe, Fordham in the season-opener for both teams in Annapolis Saturday afternoon.  The Midshipmen came away with a 52-16 blowout win over the rams in Navy's eleventh consecutive home win dating back to last season.

The Mids were led offensively by Junior fullback Chris High who gained 176 yards on just 10 carries and found the end zone twice.  Navy's daunted triple option attack opened the way for 427 yards rushing on the afternoon.

Senior signal caller, Tago Smith guided the Mids to a 21-10 lead over their FCS opponent after just one quarter of play.  Smith has been biding his time in the shadow of Keenan Reynolds who set the NCAA record for all-time touchdowns scored with 88.  Smith was injured on a 22-yard carry at the beginning of the second quarter.  MRI results on Sunday confirmed that Smith had torn his ACL in his right knee and he is scheduled for surgery this week.

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo became choked up about Smith's injury when asked about it in the post-game press conference.

“Just a great kid.  The kind of kid who really symbolizes who we are.  He hasn’t said crap for three years. He came to work every day.  He didn't complain, didn't get bitter.  I was the guy keeping him off the field.  There were other coaches that wanted to take him for other positions and play him.   I held him back. For three years he didn't say a word, just worked his butt off.

"What he did in the first half didn’t surprise me. We knew the guy was a really good football player who was just playing behind Keenan (Reynolds).  I just feel for the kid.”

Will Worth came in to replace the injured Smith and had nine carries for 22 yards and a rushing touchdown.  He also completed all three of his passes for 78 yards, including a 57-yard TD strike to Toneo Gulley.

Freshman QB Malcolm Perry was called from the stands after marching to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with the rest of the Brigade of Midshipmen.  He changed at halftime and made his collegiate debut at the end of the third quarter with Navy leading, 49-13.

The Mids host Connecticut (1-0) next Saturday at 3:30.

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