Navy (2-0) held on to beat UConn (1-1) in a game with an outstanding finish (for the neutral at least) in Annapolis on Saturday afternoon. The Mids will be upset as a group that UConn was still in the game late, but an outstanding final play on defense saw Navy across the finish line with the win. That final play is one that you can build a season around, so it will be interesting to see how Navy responds next weekend.
For now, though, here is a look at how the three keys player out against UConn:
1) Ease Will Worth into the role - Pass
The Mids did a great job early of dictating the game and taking the fight to UConn. Navy scored on its first two drives of the game, the first of which was 96 yards and the second was 80 yards. Interestingly both drives featured a Worth pass of 40 yards of more and for the day Worth was 6-of-8 for 130 yards through the air. This was important as the option with Worth just isn't the same as it was with Keenan Reynolds or even Tago Smith. Worth was stuffed for no gain on a 4th and goal from the 1-yard line late in the first half. While he passed the test that is a play he has to score on moving forward.
2) Big plays on defense - Pass
There were two huge plays by the defense on the day that helped Navy win the game. Right after Worth was stopped on the 4th and goal chance the Mids defense covered for the offense failing to score. On the very next play, Alohi Gilman forced and recovered a fumble by UConn quarterback Bryant Sherriffs, returning the ball two yards for a touchdown. The second huge play was the stuff of Ron Johnson at the goal line with 17 seconds on the clock that proved to be the final play of the game.
3) Make Bryant Shirreffs uncomfortable - Fail
Navy did a good job of shutting Shirreffs down when he tried to run the ball. The UConn quarterback carried13 times for 32 yards and no touchdowns, plus he had the huge fumble that allowed the Mids to take a 21-0 lead that should have put the game to bed. The problem though was that Navy was Navy able to disrupt Shirreff's rhythm when he was passing the ball. Shirreffs was 23-for-26 through the air for 239 yards and a touchdown. This is two weeks running where the opposing quarterback has had his way with Navy when passing the ball, something Ken Niumatalolo must fix quickly.