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Navy Football Standown: Bye Week Thoughts

After four straight Saturdays of Navy Midshipmen football, we take a break, step back, and look at the season so far.

NCAA Football: Navy at Southern Methodist Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

With four weeks of college football complete, we review how the Navy Football team has done so far.

Season Review

The Midshipmen opened up the season with a long trip to Hawaii to face a red hot Rainbow Warriors team. Navy was not ready for the offensive attack led by Hawaii quarterback, Cole McDonald. Although the Navy offense played well in the second half, it wasn’t enough to come back from a big deficit. The game ended Navy 41 - Hawaii 59.

In the Midshipmen’s home opener, both players and staff got their acts together and came out ready to play. Facing a Memphis Tigers team that scored 66 points in the game prior, Navy held them to only 21 points. With the rain coming down nearly the entire game, Memphis’ passing attack was severely limited. Navy’s triple option was relatively unaffected, and the Midshipmen took home the exciting victory, 22-21, and a huge conference win.

Navy followed up this conference win with a blowout at home against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 51-21. Lehigh, an FCS team, gave Navy an easier game to focus on some fundamentals while also adding another mark in the win column.

Last week, Navy traveled to Dallas, Texas to take on a win-less SMU team. However, we knew this game wasn’t going to be easy, despite the SMU Mustang’s record. Prior to facing the Midshipmen, SMU had faced North Texas (4-0), TCU, and Michigan. So, the Mustangs were tired of getting beat by much better opponents and wanted a win for themselves. SMU played Navy well in a sloppy game, and took the game to overtime. In overtime, Navy scored first. When SMU took over the ball, they scored as well, but wanted to attempt a two point conversion to decide the game right then. After lining up in a unique formation, SMU ran a play that confused the defense, and converted the two point conversion to win, 31-30.

This loss against SMU was significant because it was a conference loss to a relatively weaker opponent. Additionally, there were two significant injuries to Navy’s most productive offensive players.

Offensive Standouts

  • Malcolm Perry - Navy’s starting quarterback, Malcolm Perry, has played up to the quality that we expected in preseason. The junior quarterback has 530 yards through four games for an average of 6.2 yards per carry with six touchdowns. Perry’s passing, however, has still not improved to the level which Navy needs it to be. In the SMU game, Perry was removed from the game due to an apparent head injury. This bye week will allow Perry to recover from any possible extended concussion symptoms.
  • Zach Abey - The wide receiver/quarterback, Zach Abey, leads the team with rushing touchdowns at seven. Abey has primarily used as a blocking wide receiver and a short distance quarterback, which explains his high touchdown number. Abey also experienced a lower body injury during the SMU game, and he too, will benefit from the off week.
  • Nelson Smith - Sophomore fullback, Nelson Smith, has become a campus favorite due to his impressive tough running. Smith has 165 yards for an average of 6.1 yards per carry. Smith and senior captain, Anthony Gargiulo, have shared the majority of fullback duties.

Defensive Inconsistency

Navy’s defense has been inconsistent. At times, the defense has shown the tenacity required to beat teams like Notre Dame and UCF, especially in the win against Memphis. They also stepped up when it was needed and had some huge plays in the contest at SMU last week. However at other times, the Midshipmen have given up big plays due to blatant missed assignments. The defense will need to continue to step up their game if Navy wants to compete against tougher opponents further into the season, especially as the offense continues to search for consistency as well.

Special Teams

Kicker Bennett Moehring has been the high spot across all four games for the Midshipmen. Moehring is 16 for 16 on point after attempts and recently broke the Navy record for all-time PAT’s made. Furthermore, Moehring is perfect on field goals, making all four of his attempts this season.

Way Ahead

Next week, Navy faces Air Force in Colorado Springs. Historically, Navy has struggled against Air Force when the game is played in Colorado. The Air Force fans are loud and the altitude at which the game is played gives Air Force players the advantage. The Falcons are currently 1-2 on the season, so they have been struggling a bit as well. The bye week will give Navy a slight advantage, but the game will certainly be competitive.