In most games, Navy would be happy with 198 yards rushing. But it was a frustrating evening for their defense as they gave up a total of 415 yards and four plays of 49 yards or more, losing to Memphis by a final score of 35-17.
Memphis would pick up its first AAC win as Navy created a losing streak ahead of its big game against No. 3 Cincinnati.
The evening began as Memphis quarterback Seth Henigan found Javon Ivory for 49 yards, ultimately leading to a Sean Dykes three-yard receiving touchdown. Memphis completed that drive in a total of 2:50, a common refrain throughout the evening — quick drives.
Navy would respond to that with its longest drive since the 2004 Emerald Bowl, a 21 play, 75-yard drive, taking up a total of 10 minutes and 50seconds, as James Harris ran in for a three-yard touchdown.
The Tigers would run off another quick drive, as Navy went three-and-out after. Once Memphis got the ball back, Henigan threw an interception to Diego Fagot that looked to be for six but was called back for a personal foul.
Navy had another touchdown called back, as they settled for three. The rest of the first half was quick Tigers drives, and empty Midshipmen ones as Memphis led 28-10 at the break.
Both teams traded a touchdown to begin the second half, but the rest was full of three-and-outs, as Memphis finally picked up its find win during the 2021 conference slate.
The Midshipmen didn’t have the worst offensive day, as they ran a total of 26 more plays than the Tigers, resulting in 17.5 more minutes of possession.
On the other end of the ball, they obviously struggled but Diego Fagot had yet another great game with 8 tackles.
Navy’s defense really struggled without Kevin Brennan
Navy’s defense gave up a total of 415 yards on the evening, a whole 56 more yards than their average, in a game that was essentially done at halftime.
The secondary especially was exposed right away as Henigan threw a 49-yard pass to a receiver. He would throw another pass for 74 yards in the 2nd quarter, and one for 51 yards in the 3rd quarter.
An even bigger concern for the Midshipmen was the amount of missed tackles they had. Memphis ran through the Navy defenders just like SMU the week before, shaking off tackle after tackle.
If the Midshipmen want to pull off the upset next Saturday, they need to get the ball carrier down early and often and not allow open holes, creating big plays.
Stupid penalties took points off the board for Navy
It all began with the Diego Fagot pick-six that was called back. On the return, Tyler Fletcher decided to run along with the play. The only problem was that his helmet was stripped off earlier in the sequence, forcing a personal foul.
Later that drive, Tai Lavatai found Mychal Cooper in the end zone for what the Mids thought would be another seven, but it was called back by a Camari Williams clipping penalty way behind the play. They would only get three points on that drive.
Navy had a total of four penalties in the first half for 49 yards.
Navy will more than likely not make a bowl this season
I would love to be optimistic, but at 1-5 with games still against No. 3 Cincinnati and No. 14 Notre Dame on the schedule, it looks like the Midshipmen will not be able to reach that six-win goal for a bowl.
Unless Ken Niumatalolo can get the boys to rally and pull off an upset or two, he will miss bowls in consecutive seasons for the first time since he’s been the head coach in Annapolis.
Navy will host Cincinnati on Oct. 23 at Navy-Marine Corp Stadium. Kickoff will take place at Noon and the game will be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2.