Zach Abey became the third starting quarterback for the Navy Midshipmen in just five games after Ken Niumatalolo and staff decided to give the senior the nod in hopes of providing the offensive spark Navy had been lacking through its 2-6 start. Unfortunately for Navy, the quarterback change was not the short-term answer as the Midshipmen struggled to move the ball and dropped their sixth game in a row, this time at the hands of the Cincinnati Bearcats by a score of 42-0.
On the second play of the game, Abey and former starting quarterback turned slotback Malcom Perry struggled on a pitch that resulted in a fumble and a six-yard loss. Navy concluded that series with a punt just two plays later and the Bearcats took advantage of the favorable field position churning out a six-play 60-yard drive that concluded in an 8-yard Michael Warren II touchdown run.
Those initial possessions for both teams proved to set the tone for the remainder of the afternoon as the Bearcats piled it on the Midshipmen improving to 8-1 on the year and just one game back from claiming the AAC East title.
For Navy, the rest of the game didn’t get any better as the Midshipmen were out-gained in the first half in total yards 271-57 and the Bearcats took a 28-0 lead into the locker room led by two first-half touchdowns by Warren II.
After the break, Cincinnati showed no signs of slowing down either as Desmond Ridder connected with Rashad Medaris for a 55-yard strike on their first possession of the second half extending the lead to 35-0.
Cincinnati’s defense responded in kind by holding the Midshipmen to only 124 rushing yards in the game and managed to keep Niumatalolo’s offense out of the end zone for the first time sine 2012.
Navy’s road doesn’t get any easier next week as they will head to Orlando, Florida to take on the 12th ranked and undefeated UCF Knights.
Stat leaders for Navy:
Passing Yards: Abey, Z - 47
Rushing Yards: Abey, Z - 37
Receiving Yards: Perry, M - 32