Navy Football: The best of 2010

Navy football was full of highs and lows during the 2010 season. GoMids.com's Jim Lawler shares his list of the top moments during Navy's 2010 football campaign.

THE BEST MOMENTS OF 2010

Navy dominates Notre Dame
Navy played its most complete game of the year dominating Notre Dame in a surprisingly easy 35-17 win at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Navy opened the game with a terrific defensive goal line stand to stuff the Irish on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Navy then drove 99 yards for a touchdown. The Mids proceeded to score touchdowns on five of their first six possessions. Alexander Teich ran wild as he rushed for 210 yards on 26 carries. The victory is the Mids third in four years over Notre Dame. Who would have ever thought, after four decades of futility that we'd see the day that Navy would call off the dogs in the fourth quarter against the Irish? The only thing better than watching the Mids beat the Irish was the complete meltdown and belly aching of the Notre Dame faithful.

Wyatt Middleton snatches the ball and hopes of a victory from Army
Navy dominated the first quarter and jumped out to a 17-0 lead over the Black Knights. It looked like it was going to be another Navy blowout of their arch rival. Army then created turnovers, started to move the ball and scored its first touchdown against the Mids since 2006. With a little over a minute left in the half and down 17-7, Army quarterback Trent Steelman fumbled the ball at the goal line while going in for a score just before the end of the half. Navy's rover Wyatt Middleton snatched the ball and returned it 98 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest fumble return in the series 111 year history and resulted in a 14-point swing as it gave Navy a 24-7 halftime lead. The win helped secure the Midshipmen their ninth straight win in the series. Middleton earned his game MVP award with 9 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, one pass defensed and the 98-yard fumble return for a touchdown. It was the signature performance for the Navy captain in a brilliant four year career. He will be hard to replace.

Ricky Dobbs refuses to lose as he leads the Mids to a win over Wake Forest on the road
After a bitter loss to Air Force, Navy avoided a second straight loss with a tremendous 10-play drive in the last minute to defeat Wake Forest 28-27 on the road. Quarterback Ricky Dobbs was knocked out of the game on the previous series and then returned for the final desperate drive. Dobbs, who was playing on an injured ankle, struggled with his passing all game as he uncharacteristically overthrew a number of open receivers. In the clutch Ricky seemed to always rise to the occasion. Dobbs took over at his own 36-yard line with just 2:17 left in the game. Dobbs converted a fourth-and-1 with a perfect option pitch to Aaron Santiago. After two incompletions Ricky made the throw of game. Dobbs scrambled, avoided being sacked, and hit Gee Gee Greene for a clutch 34-yard reception on third-and-10. Dobbs rushed twice for 9 yards setting up a third-and-1 from the 6-yard line. Ricky then threw a perfect 6-yard play action pass in the corner of the end zone to Greg Jones to secure the win with 26 seconds left. It was another clutch late game comeback performance in a remarkable career for Ricky Dobbs.

Navy's comeback corrals the Mustangs
Navy rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to beat SMU at home 28-21. Navy's offense struggled in the first half as the Mustangs took a 14-0 lead at halftime. Facing a third-and-17 on the opening series of the second half after struggling all game quarterback Ricky Dobbs threw a clutch 51-yard bomb to Aaron Santiago that set up a touchdown and changed the momentum of the game. After SMU tied the score in the fourth quarter, Tyler Simmons intercepted a pass late in the game to set up Alexander Teich's touchdown run to secure the win.

A defensive stand against Central Michigan
Backup quarterback Kriss Proctor started in place of Ricky Dobbs, who was held out with a concussion suffered the prior game, and Proctor led Navy with 201 rushing yards and a 38-24 lead. Navy fans thought the game was over but watched as the Chippewas score two touchdowns in the last three minutes of the game. Central Michigan scored with four seconds left in game and decided not to kick extra point to tie the game and send the game into overtime but instead went for the win in regulation. Chippewas quarterback Ryan Radcliffe's 2-point conversion pass sailed over the head of receiver Kito Poblah, who was double covered by Wyatt Middleton and Kevin Edwards, giving Navy a 38-37 victory over Central Michigan.

Ricky Dobbs hits Greg Jones with an 85-yard touchdown bomb against Arkansas State
This play was just one touchdown in a relatively easy 35-19 victory over Arkansas State. It was, in my opinion, the prettiest touchdown pass in quarterback Ricky Dobbs record setting season. Navy fans had expected the offense would pass more effectively with Ricky Dobbs at quarterback. While Dobbs was effective at times, he entered the 2010 season with just seven career touchdown passes. Jones had caught only one touchdown pass against Notre Dame the year before as he had struggled to find the right position in the offense. This play was set up in a similar fashion with Jones starting as an ineligible receiver and then resetting to making himself eligible. It was a beautiful throw by Dobbs that hit Jones in stride way down field. Dobbs achieved his promise as a complete quarterback as he broke Alton Grizzard's single season Navy touchdown record with 13 touchdown passes. Jones caught five touchdowns this year as he emerged as Navy's big play receivers during his senior year. Navy's offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper stated that their success has made Navy rethink their recruiting philosophy. Previously the staff would offer outstanding option quarterbacks and then teach them to pass. Now Jasper says the Mids may offer more dual threat quarterbacks and then teach them the option game.

The Midshipmen take no prisoners as they put up 76 points against the East Carolina Pirates
Navy scored the most points in a game since 1919 as they turned a close game into a second half rout of East Carolina, 76-35. Navy compiled 521 rushing yards and 596 yards of total offense. It started as an offensive shootout as Navy led 28-21 at halftime. After the break the Pirates shot themselves in the foot and imploded with four fumbles on their first five possessions of the second half. Navy scored 48 second half points in a blowout win. Even after Navy cleared its bench the Pirates defense had no answers. It was like Navy against the Somali pirates.

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