THE WORST MOMENTS OF 2010
Air Force takes the Commander In Chief's Trophy
Navy entered this season with a streak of winning seven consecutive CIC trophies. Air Force ended its seven game losing streak against Navy. The Mids had defeated its fellow service academies fifteen consecutive times before this loss. For the first time since 1976 the Mids failed to score a touchdown against Air Force as they fell 14-6. It was a frustrating loss as Navy drove inside the 14-yard line three times but only scored six points. The special teams cost Navy the game. Kyle Delahooke had a punt blocked and set up the Falcons' last 15-yard touchdown drive. Kicker Joe Buckley had a field goal attempt deflected. Unlike the respect the Army rivalry evokes this rivalry has been contentious as a result of former Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry's dominance in the eighties and dismissive attitude towards Navy. In what looked like a mechanics convention, watching the Air Force cadets swarm the field in their flight suits was the worst moment of 2010.
Meltdown against Maryland in the redzone
Every Navy fan agreed with head coach Ken Niumatalolo's post game assessment that this is one of the hardest losses he's ever been associated with. Navy's offense moved the ball all day, dominating time of possession but they failed to convert five times inside the redzone. Navy quarterback Ricky Dobbs was stopped short on what would have been a game winning score on fourth-and-goal with 34 seconds left. Navy produced 429 yards and average 5.7 yards a carry but five fumbles, four by Ricky Dobbs, including losing two inside the five by Ricky doomed the Mids chances. Navy's struggles in the redzone the first month of the season contributed to two losses.
Duke dominates Navy's defense
In its most disappointing loss in years Navy suffered a letdown following their win over Notre Dame to lose 34-31 to Duke at home. Duke entered the game with a 1-6 record but dominated the Mids in the first half and raced to a 24-0 lead. The Midshipmen mounted a furious comeback scoring 24 points in the fourth quarter only to be stopped near midfield on its final drive. Duke passing game clicked on all cylinders as quarterback Sean Renfree completed his first 16 throws. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree completed 28 of 30 passes for 314 yards and one touchdown pass. Buddy Green's defense was unable to break Renfree's rhythm and he picked the Navy secondary to shreds.
No show against San Diego State in Poinsettia Bowl
San Diego State's freshman All-American Ronnie Hillman ran for 228 yards and scored four touchdowns in defeating Navy 35-14 in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Aztecs outrushed the Mids 279 to 235 as they limited Navy's attack. Navy rallied from a 14 point deficit to narrow the gap to 21-14 at the half. On fourth-and-goal from the three Ken Niumatalolo decided to gamble and go for it. Ricky Dobbs' play action pass was dropped by Bo Snelson in the end zone. Buddy Green's defense gave Navy a chance to get back into the game in the third quarter but Navy offense was shutout in the second half. It was Navy's worse loss since 2008 against Pittsburgh and the worst bowl loss since the 2003 Houston Bowl against Texas Tech.
Concussions cut short the careers of Malloy and Merchant
Matt Malloy, the starting right tackle since 2008, suffered a concussion against Maryland in the opener. He had another concussion early in the Air Force game ending his football career. Malloy had been a starter since his sophomore season and his presence was missed early in season. Starting free safety Emmett Merchant also suffered two concussions that ended his career. Merchant saw action with the varsity for four years. A part time starter in 2008, Merchant started all of 2009 and after a tremendous junior year was considered a preseason All-East candidate for the 2010 season. He had a momentum changing interception in the opener against Maryland. Merchant will always be in the Navy highlights as he assisted on the failed two-point conversion tackle of Travis Thomas in 2007 ending Notre Dame's 43-year winning streak against Navy. Losing both players had a negative impact. Malloy's loss hurt the redzone efficiency early in year. The Mids missed Merchant at free safety as their pass defense struggled late in the season.
Navy Football: The worst of 2010
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