Saturday, September 11, 2021

Air Force knocks off Navy, 23-3 on 9/11

Navy and Air Force met on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Both teams wore special uniforms for the occasion.  The game was a defensive struggle early on for both teams.  Air Force scored back-to-back touchdowns at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters against a tired Navy defense.  The Mids fall to 0-2 and the Falcons improve to 2-0 with a big win in an effort to claim the Commander-in-Chief Trophy.  Navy has an off week before traveling to Houston on September 25.

The punting game is very important -
Both teams realized the importance of the punting game.  Navy scored their only points of the game following a 12-yard punt by Air Force’s Charles Bein.  Navy started their drive on the Air Force 28 yard line and got on the score board following a 23-yard field goal by Bijan Nichols.

Air Force got their first points of the game after Navy’s Kellen Grave de Peralta punted for 18 yards to the Navy 43 yard line.  Air Force scored a touchdown nine plays later and would never give up the lead.

Later in the game, Navy snapped the ball through the end zone on a punt for a safety.  Air Force scored a TD on the following drive.

Great call, Ivin
Navy offensive coordinator made a great call in the second quarter.  The Navy offense had been anemic and the Mids faced a 3rd-and-8 on the Air Force 36 yard line.  Jasper called a quarterback counter for Xavier Arline who scrambled 26 yards to the Air Force 10.  Navy would score their only points of the game on this drive.

Stat of the night - 
Nine of Navy’s 12 drives were three-and-out drives during the game.

Dominating defenses
The Air Force defense held Navy to just 68 yards in the game - 32 passing and 36 rushing.  The Navy defense held Air Force in check for the majority of the game before wearing down due to a lack of offense for the Mids giving them very short breaks between drives.

Class Act - Coach Ken Niumatalolo had a lengthy discussion with officials regarding the roughing the kicker call that eventually led to an Air Force touchdown.  Niumatalolo obviously didn’t agree with the call, yet the discussion wasn’t animated and he kept his composure through the exchange.  He ended the conversation with a shoulder shrug and patted both officials on the shoulder before walking back to the sideline.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Navy falls to Marshall, 49-7


Pre-game - Navy and Marshall met for the first time in the 2021 season opener for both schools.  Prior to the game there was a moment of silence for Michelle Cummings, the mother of Navy freshman offensive lineman, Trey Cummings.  Cummings was shot by a stray bullet on June 29 when she was in Annapolis for the Naval Academy’s induction day.

The Herd Starts Quickly - Marshall started their opening drive on their own 25 yard line. QB Chad Wells connected with Talik Keaton on a post routed for 47 yards to the Navy 28.  Eight plays later, Rasheen Ali hit pay dirt with a two yard touchdown run.  The play capped off a 9-play, 75 yard drive taking a 7-0 lead.

Lack of execution - Navy’s first two drives of the game ended with poor execution.  On Navy’s opening drive, the Mids faced a fourth down in Marshall territory.  Senior wide receiver, Mychal Cooper dropped a Tai Lavatai pass that would have been a first down and extended the drive.  On their ensuing possession down 14-0, a Bijan Nichols 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked by TJ Johnson keeping the Mids off the scoreboard.

Great call, Ivin - Navy offensive coordinator, Ivin Jasper called a reverse pitch to Jayden Umbarger on a fourth-and-three at the Marshall 42.  Umbarger gained 28 yards on the carry to the Herd 14 yard line.  The Mids were unable to score on the drive.

Clutch plays - Navy senior free safety, Kevin Brennan had two big takeaways in the game.  Early in the second quarter with the ball deep in Navy territory, Brennan recovered a Sheldon Evans fumble on the Midshipmen 21 yard line.  In the third quarter, Brennan picked off a Wells pass and returned it to the Marshall 15.

Key stats - Navy dominated the time of possession in the game - 41:19 to 18:41.  Navy also ran 29 more plays than Marshall.

Navy punted the ball 6 times in the game, averaging just 29.8 yards per punt.

Marshall fumbled the ball 4 times in the game, only losing one.

Wrap up
Marshall dominated Navy, 49-7 on the opening of the season for both teams.  The Herd dominated from the beginning of the game scoring in every quarter and holding the Mids to a late touchdown run by Xavier Arline in the fourth quarter.

Marshall RB, Rasheen Ali scored four touchdowns, including the first three of the game to help put Navy out of the game early.  He finished with 59 yards on 14 carries.  Grant Wells threw for 333 yards to keep the Navy defense off balance.

Navy rushed for 385 yards, but could not finish drives with points.  The Mids were just 1 for 5 in scoring points in the red zone.

Navy will host rival Air Force on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.