The Navy Midshipmen hosted the Temple Owls in Week 7 of college football. Navy was coming off an embarrassing loss to rival service academy, Air Force. Temple on the other hand, dominated East Carolina 49-6 last week.
After a back an forth game, the Owls came out on top 24-17. Navy extended their losing streak to three, and now hold an overall record of 2-4. Before we dwell to much on this game and its implications, let’s take a look at something positive.
Coach Ken Niumatalolo surprised many by deciding to make a change at quarterback, and start the senior, Garret Lewis, instead of Malcolm Perry. Perry, a junior, had started every game thus far. The good news is that Navy has three quarterbacks that can run the offense to the best of its ability. Whether their best is very good or not is up to interpretation. But the point is, Lewis, Perry, and Zach Abey can all step in and execute the offense.
Zach Abey, who played quarterback all last year, is now utilized at wide receiver and under center in short yardage situations. Perry was employed as an A-back (Navy’s running back position) today, just as he was last year.
On the whole, Navy’s offense struggled today more than a Navy fan would like. But at least we now know the issues are not at the quarterback position.
Another bright spot is that Navy kicker, Bennett Moehring, has made every single one of his field goals this year with the exception of a 57 yard attempt at the end of the first half last week at Air Force.
Every team now knows how to beat Navy. Run your wide receivers vertically and throw the ball so they can simply run underneath it. The Midshipmen’s issues in the secondary was no mystery. Although we didn’t know that it was this bad.
Temple’s starting running back, and leader on their offense, Ryquell Armstead was out of the game due to an injury. So the Navy defense knew the ball was going to be thrown for the majority of the game. But despite that, Temple quarterback, Anthony Russo was able to complete 70 percent of his passes. Two weeks ago, Russo was only completing 46 percent of his passes on the entire season. Navy allowed an even 300 yards passing to the Owls.
The Midshipmen defense played well at times today. However, there were an excessive amounts of missed tackles and wide open Temple players. Navy couldn’t stop Air Force’s rushing game last week and couldn’t stop Temple’s passing attack this week. Which brings us to the ugly.
Next week Navy hosts Houston who at the time of publication is dominating East Carolina. The Cougars will likely come into Annapolis next week with a 5-1 record and the second highest scoring offense in the country, behind Alabama. Barring a miracle, Navy doesn’t stand a chance against Houston, even at home.
But then it gets worse. The Midshipmen will then travel to San Diego, California, to play a neutral site game against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked No. 5 in the country and are 7-0. Again, even worse, Notre Dame has a bye week between now and when they face Navy, giving them that much more time to prepare for the triple-option. So the Midshipmen’s odds of winning that game are extremely slim as well.
It can’t possibly get worse right? Wrong. After Notre Dame, Navy has to travel to play at Cincinnati and at UCF. Both teams are currently undefeated. So if we just assume those four games will be losses, Navy will head into the last three games of the season with a 2-8 record. And therefore, the Midshipmen will not even have a chance to be Bowl eligible.
Navy optimists will simply chalk it up as a rebuilding year. Pessimists will say this is the beginning of the downfall of Navy in the American Athletic Conference. The former is probably true, however the fear of latter exists in all Navy fans.