Saturday, September 10, 2022

Memphis Passing Game Sinks Navy, 37-13

Navy came into their game against Memphis hoping to right the ship and get their first win of the season.  Last week at home against Delaware, the offense struggled putting points on the board.  The defense, on the other hand, played well and kept Navy in the game.

Navy didn't play well on either side of the football this week.  Granted, the offense still struggled scoring points, finding the end zone only two times out of their 10 possessions.  The turnover bug hasn't left the Navy offense either as the Mids threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

The defense couldn't contain Memphis quarterback, Seth Henigan.  The sophomore signal caller completed 24 passes on 34 attempts for 415 yards and two touchdowns.  The running game was good enough to keep the Navy defense honest, gaining 91 yards and accounting for two rushing touchdowns.

Navy was still in the game at halftime, trailing 13-7.  Navy's lone score in the first half was a 62-yard pass from Tai Lavatai to Anton Hall Jr.  The catch was Hall's first of his career and the longest pass of Lavatai's career.

In the second half, Memphis took control and outscored the Midshipmen 24-6 to give Memphis their first win of the season, 37-13.  Lavatai scored a rushing touchdown from one yard out with 12:46 remaining in the game.  The two-point conversion attempt was no good and Navy would not have another scoring drive in the game.

You could tell by his demeanor in the post-game press conference that Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo was frustrated with the team's performance the past two weeks.

"Tough loss.  Our kids, everybody with them, are devastated.  We put a lot into this."

It was obvious that the losses and overall performance to open the season are not what Navy or Coach Niumatalolo are satisfied with.  Especially with the offense, of which he's the coordinator and play caller.

"From the first game, there was nowhere to go but up.  It was better (than last week) but still not good enough.  Still too many mistakes."

Play of the game - Navy called a halfback pass on a second down at the Memphis 29 yard line.  Maquel Haywood through a pass into coverage that was intercepted by Quindell Johnson in the end zone.  Coach Niumatalolo said that play "changed all the momentum".

Player of the game - Memphis quarterback completed 24 passes for 415 yards and two touchdowns.

Statistically speaking - Navy had the time-of-possession advantage in the game, 32:34 - 27:26.  Memphis had only two fewer plays in the game.

From the press box - A reporter in the press box after the game mentioned that Navy had only one good play and one good drive in the game.

Navy quarterback Tai Lavatai on his touchdown pass - "It was good to get something going.  It was spurts of happiness.  At the end of the day, it was great to see Anton's first touchdown, but we didn't get the job done today on offense."

Navy linebacker John Marshall - "I think it (the game) came down to a couple of plays.  Our defense flashes a lot, but that consistency is what will keep us going throughout the year.  I think we are just a couple of plays away from being a really good defense."

Records - Navy falls to 0-2 on the season and Memphis improves to 1-1.

Next week - Navy will have a bye week next week and then will travel to East Carolina on September 24.  Memphis will host Arkansas State in their first home game of the year.

Friday, September 09, 2022

Memphis at Navy - Pregame Notes

The Memphis Tigers will travel to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday to face the Navy Midshipmen. Both teams are looking for their first win of the season.  Memphis lost last week at Mississippi State, 49-23.  The Mids fell short against Delaware, 14-7.

Saturday will be the eighth meeting between the two schools.  Memphis has a 4-3 record against Navy and has won the last three meetings.

Memphis has 37 transfers on their roster from schools including Cal, Florida, Miami, and Ohio State.  They also have 13 fifth-year players on their two-deep roster.

Senior quarterback, Seth Hennigan leads the Memphis offense.  He completed 19-30 attempts last week for 165 yards and a touchdown.  Jevon Ducker and Brandon Thomas combined for 96 yards against Mississippi State.

Redshirt Seniors Jaylon Allen and Qunidell Johnson led the Tigers in tackles with 12 and nine respectively.  Allen also had a sack in the game and Johnson had an interception.

The Navy defense held Delaware to just 13 rushing yards last week and recorded 12 tackles for a loss and five sacks.

The offense struggled early in the game losing three fumbles in the first five offensive series.  Navy lost just five fumbles in the entire 2021 season.

The Mids are lead by junior quarterback, Tai Lavatai.  Lavatai carried the ball 18 times last week and had the teams only touchdown in the game.  He also completed five passes for 135 yards.

Linebacker Colin Ramos led the defense with nine tackles against the Blue Hens.  Evan Gibbons had eight tackles and two tackles for a loss.  Striker John Marshall had seven tackles and two sacks.

Tomorrow's game will be televised on CBS Sports Network and kickoff is scheduled for 3:30.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Navy Falls to Visiting Delaware, 14-7

A Navy fumble on the opening play of the game that was recovered by Delaware set the tone for the remainder of the season opener for the Midshipmen.  

Navy quarterback, Tai Lavatai carried the ball on Navy's first play and fumbled after a carry of seven yards.  Delaware's Del Nickles recovered the fumble on the Navy 24 yard line.  Two plays later, Delaware connected on a 6 yard touchdown pass from Nolan Henderson to Bryce De Maille giving the Blue Hens a 7-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game.

Turnovers were the downfall for the Mids in today's game.  Navy was held to a three-and-out and a missed a field goal on their next two drives.  Then fumbled the ball away to Delaware on their following two drives.

Navy head coach, Ken Niumatalolo and the coaching staff have been preaching to get a fast start in today's game.  Unfortunately three turnovers in Navy's first five possessions deflated the offense's momentum. 

John Marshall
John Marshall
"We lost three possessions and that hurts," shared Niumatalolo.  "It couldn't have started in a worse way."

The Navy defense kept the team in the game, even giving them a chance to win late in the contest.  The Mids defense had 12 tackles for a loss in the game and sacked Henderson five times.  Both Kip Franklin and John Marshall spoke highly of the defense in the post game press conference.

Marshall had two sacks in today's game and created chaos for the Delaware offense all afternoon.

Navy kept fighting and finally put points on the scoreboard with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter.  Lavatai carried the ball two yards and got the season's first touchdown.  The junior quarterback had 34 yards on 18 carries in the game.  Lavatai also completed five passes for a career high 135 yards, including a 43 yard completion as the first half ended.

Navy hosts American Athletic Conference for Memphis next Saturday in Annapolis.

Vital statistic - Navy had three lost fumbles in today's game.  The Midshipmen had just two lost fumbles in the last eight games last year.

Battling an injury - Navy team captain, Bijan Nichols was questionable in today's game with a leg injury and did not play.  Nichols is thought to be the first punter to be named a captain at Navy and only the second kicker (first since 1930).

Coach Niumatalolo on the pressure of Navy's quarterbacks - "The quarterback in our offense gets a lot of credit when things go well because the ball is always in his hands.  But you also get a lot of blame because the ball is always in your hands.  It's the nature of the position."

Kip Franklin

Kip Franklin on the offense's struggles
- "We have to be resilient.  That was tough, but we need to be able to just brush this game off our shoulder.  We're a tough team; we've been in situations like this before and we need to come back and play better."

Unsung hero - Navy's Colin Ramos had nine tackles, one tackle for a loss, and one forced fumble.

Delaware head coach Ryan Party on shutting down the triple-option - "I told Coach Rojas after the game I thought that was one of the best performances a defense had against a triple-option team in a long time.  I thought we had an unbelievable assignment-based plan going into it and our guys executed it perfectly."

Friday, September 02, 2022

Delaware at Navy - Pregame Notes

Navy hosts Delaware at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Saturday in the opening game of the 2022 season.  This will be the 18th meeting between the two schools and the first one since 2013.  Navy has won the last three meetings.

Navy is led by head coach, Ken Niumatalolo who will be beginning his 15th season leading the Midshipmen.

The Blue Hens are playing their first contest under Head Coach Ryan Carty. Carty a is 2006 Delaware graduate.

Navy is 55-22 at home under Niumatalolo and 7-7 in season openers, including a 5-2 mark when opening the year at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.  

The Mids have their hands full with a challenging schedule this season. Navy's 12 opponents in 2022 combined to go 100-52 in 2021 (.658), making Navy's schedule the toughest in the country this year based on last year's opponents' win-loss records.

The key to Navy's success this year will be junior quarterback, Tai Lavatai.  Lavatai completed 55% of his passes last season along with 5 TDs.  The running game will be where Lavatai needs to lead the offense.

Delaware has 17 transfers on its roster and returns eight defensive starters from a season ago.  

Quarterback Nolan Henderson in his sixth season with Delaware will be the leader on the offensive side of the ball.  His main target will be wide receiver Thyrick Pitts who has had a reception in 30-consecutive games, which is fifth all-time in UD history

Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 12:02 PM and will be covered by CBS Sports Network.