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."

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