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.

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