Saturday, November 11, 2023

Navy Dominates UAB on Veterans Day, 31-6

Annapolis, MD - In an inaugural meeting between the Navy Midshipmen and the UAB Blazers at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, a crowd of 29,078 fans witnessed a memorable clash that showcased the resilience and determination of Navy's football team.

The first quarter saw an intense exchange of offensive and defensive maneuvers. Navy's Alex Tecza's impressive 36-yard run set the stage for a goal-line stand by UAB's Keondre Swoopes, intercepting a pass from Xavier Arline in the end zone. However, Navy struck first with Arline connecting with Regis Velez for a 45-yard touchdown, giving the Midshipmen a 7-0 lead with 2:49 left in the first quarter.

UAB responded quickly with a 51-yard drive culminating in a 37-yard field goal by kicker Matt Quinn, cutting Navy's lead to 7-3. The Blazers continued their comeback in the second quarter, as Quinn's accurate leg cut the lead further with a 29-yard field goal, making it 7-6 with 6:22 remaining in the half.

The third quarter showcased Navy's resilience as Xavier Arline's 22-yard pass to Brandon Chatman set the stage for a field goal by Nathan Kirkwood, extending Navy's lead to 10-6.

Kirkwood replaced Senior kicker Evan Warren who missed today’s game for a wise reason. Warren is a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and had interviews yesterday and today in Washington, D.C.  If Warren were selected for a Rhodes Scholarship, he would be just the third football player in school history to receive this scholarship and the first since 1947. 

The fourth quarter proved decisive for Navy, as Daba Fofana's 2-yard touchdown run capped a marathon 20-play, 80-yard, 12:34 drive, increasing Navy's lead to 17-6 with 10:08 left in the game. Navy's offense continued to impress, driving 86 yards for another touchdown. Quarterback Xavier Arline showcased his dual-threat capabilities, rushing for 50 yards and a touchdown, securing a commanding 24-6 lead with 4:12 remaining.

Navy's defense delivered the final blow when Rayuan Lane intercepted a Jacob Zeno pass and returned it 97 yards for a touchdown. The pick-six not only solidified Navy's dominance but also etched its name in the stadium's history as the longest interception return for a touchdown. It was also the second longest pick 6 in Navy football history.

The game finished with a resounding 31-6 victory for the Midshipmen, keeping a chance of bowl eligibility available with two more wins.

Colin Ramos led the defensive charge for Navy with an outstanding performance, tallying 12 tackles and a sack.

On the UAB side, quarterback Jacob Zeno faced a relentless Navy defense, succumbing to four sacks and four hurries during the game.

Only at Navy - Navy is the only FBS school to start four quarterbacks this season.  Tai Lavatai, Blake Horvath, Braxton Woodson and Xavier Arline have all started for the Mids.  Arline started today.

The Streak Continues - Navy has won 67-consecutive home games when leading after 3 quarters which is the longest streak in the country. The last time Navy lost at home when leading after 3 quarters was against Akron in 1999.

UAB Coach, Trent Dilfer - "I want to give Navy credit.  As we've studied them this week, we thought this was the best-coordinated defense.  It was a challenge to get ready for them.  We felt by the end of the week we had a really good plan and the kids understood it, but from the opening drive a comedy of errors just kept plaguing us."

Navy Coach, Brian Newberry - "Just super proud of of our football team right now.  Coming off two losses, one really difficult one to Air Force and then a really uncharacteristic loss to Temple, I just think it shows the character of our football team the way they responded."

Head Coach Brian Newberry

No comments: