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.


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